RI performing arts community feels ‘left in the dark,” forms group to get state’s attention

NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WLNE) – Leaders from Rhode Island’s performing arts community have formed a group to get the attention of state leaders and be included in the conversations about reopening the state.

Hugo and Dana Adames own The Talent Factory in North and South Kingstown. The business holds singing, dancing, and acting classes for children and adults.

Earlier this week, the couple formed a group called the Rhode Island Performing Arts Association made up of studio owners, youth theaters, and instructors. As of Wednesday, nearly 100 people in the industry had joined.

“It’s a big community, the performing arts community, you know, with Rhode Island being the creative capital of the country. We just want to be a part of the conversation,” said Hugo Adames.

Adames said collectively, the industry has lost 60% of normal business. They’ve shifted to virtual classes, but he said it’s not the same.

“It completely altered our business. We closed our doors on March 13th, since then we’ve moved on to Zoom classes which is a small bandaid on a large wound.”

Lieutenant Governor Dan McKee has been holding town halls for business owners, but Adames said it’s not enough, and his industry needs direct guidelines.

“We think that we should be included in some of the conversation and the help that’s given to some of these small businesses that are being allowed to open. We just don’t understand why we’re not.”

Adames said many studios already adhere to many of the COVID-19 safety guidelines, as studios are spaced out and frequently cleaned. He said they’re prepared to put new ones in place too, and should be allowed to reopen to in-person classes on June 1.

“Everything that’s being asked of businesses that are able to open, we can do, and for the most part have done even prior to being shut down. We take attendance, we’re not open to the public. This is a private business. We will be laying out a grid on the floor to keep people apart from each other.”

Governor Gina Raimondo, at Wednesday’s press conference, said performing arts businesses that hold summer camps would be allowed to do so this summer as long as they follow the guidelines on summer camps.

Raimondo said, when it comes to recitals at venues like PPAC and The Vets, the state is exploring how to safely social distance inside auditoriums in order to give those events the green light.

The governor said she hopes to address the performing arts community either next week or this Friday when she’s expected to outline the details of moving into Phase 2.

© WLNE-TV 2020

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Providence, Regional News, Rhode Island