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Austin's performing arts organizations face unique challenges brought on by COVID-19 pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has challenged Austin's performing arts organizations as they start planning for fall.

AUSTIN, Texas — From symphony concerts to ballet, and from opera to theater, Austinites are known for supporting the local arts. 

But with the pandemic, many arts groups face an uncertain future.

In the days before social distancing, audience members sat next to each other. Musicians and dancers performed side by side. Now, that’s not possible. 

As arts organizations prepare to announce their fall seasons, what's to make of the new reality?

On May 21, the Austin Symphony Orchestra announced it is canceling its fall season of live concerts at the Long Center for the Performing Arts, though the music will still be available to season ticket holders through filmed concerts.

RELATED: Livestreams and virtual tip jars: How Austin musicians are coping during the pandemic

If all goes well, the orchestra may return with live concerts in front of audiences in the spring of 2021 with proper distancing between musicians, and between music lovers.

Austin Opera said it will offer performances in front of live audiences in the fall of 2020 and is working with the Long Center to determine how social distancing can be achieved.

Ballet Austin announced an ambitious season that begins in late September 2020, but has not yet made public its plans on how to handle live performances.

RELATED: Austin's ZACH Theatre cancels remainder of 2019-2020 season

Meantime, among some of the city’s most popular museums – the Bob Bullock Texas History Museum and the Contemporary Museum – have not yet announced when they will reopen. 

A spokesperson for the University of Texas' Blanton Museum told KVUE it may open to the public in the summer of 2020.

WATCH: How COVID-19 is affecting Austin performing arts groups


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