Murphy Arts District affected by pandemic, hopes community will utilize their event space to help with lost revenue

Arkansas Today

EL DORADO,Ark. (KTVE/KARD) — Although Governor Asa Hutchinson has announced guidance on allowing outdoor and indoor venues to reopen, the Murphy Arts District has chosen to reschedule many of its even for the year, including the Snoop Dog concert.

“It”s been difficult. It’s been an emotional roller-coaster,” President of the Murphy Arts District, Pamela Griffin said.

The Murphy Arts District like any entertainment or hospitality industry is suffering right now.

The current health crisis has everyone’s emotions running high and what is generally a busy time of the year for the Murphy Arts District has been of of the most trying times. This time last year they were planning for the MAD Fest but now they’re dealing with other issues.

“We’ve cancelled up to 60 plus events,” Griffin said.

The loss in revenue estimates between $750,000 to $1 million which caused them to lay off 49 employees and depend on funding from the Cares Act to help with the rest.

“We have 12 employees currently that are still on staff so we’ve used that money to pay for our payroll,” Griffin said.

The Murphy Arts District has been trying to remain present in the community by hosting MAD Movie Mondays, the Farmers Market and virtual art lessons with Gay Bechtelheimer.

“We tried to do things that we thought made sense for us to be able to continue to do.
Griff said.

That alone isn’t enough to make up for the money lost. Griffin knows the community has also fallen on hard times but she’s hoping MAD will be first on people’s minds when wanting to book for family or community events.

“We are currently booking parties and venue rentals for Christmas parties and other events such as wedding receptions and baby showers and the like,” she said.

MAD is dealing with the financial blow the best they can but the decision to reschedule their events is their way of considering the safety of performers and guests which is what’s most important right now.

“We obviously want to do what’s best for the health of the community and we don’t want to be one of the reasons why this virus continue any longer than it has to,” she said.

The Farmers Market will reopen October 3.

If you would like to catch information about upcoming concerts or cancellations/rescheduling or you would like to learn more information about booking their venue for an event you can visit their website.

If you would like to catch up on their virtual art lessons you can visit their Facebook page.

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