Pros and cons of #cultureathome: Mikhail Shvydkoy about culture and art after the coronavirus

13 May 2020
Today, on May 13, Special Presidential Representative for International Cultural Cooperation and Ambassador at Large Mikhail Shvydkoy made a presentation on “Culture and Art during the Pandemic and After” as part of the online lectures project of the Gorchakov Fund. A full recording of the live broadcast of the conference is available on the channel of the Gorchakov Fund on YouTube.

“Culture and art provide social-psychological stability of people, serve as an indicator of stability of the society – stated Mikhail Shvydkoy. – Though it may seem that now art took a back seat, in reality it continues performing many important functions. It does not only tell us about beautiful things, but also helps us not to lose ourselves in these difficult times. In addition to that, art and culture significantly influence economic development being its drivers and components of the large tourist industry.”

Due to the threat of the coronavirus infection, all cultural institutions of the world had to move to a virtual space and restructure their work in accordance with the current conditions.

According to the speaker, cultural and art institutions suffered significant financial losses. In Russia, museums and theaters closed on March 15. The Hermitage Museum has lost 200 million rubles in ticket sales, the Bolshoi Theater is losing 9 million rubles per day, which is around 20 million rubles per month. The Peterhof Park has lost around 3 billion rubles as did the Moscow Kremlin Museum.

The cinema sector has also been affected: we should not expect any new productions in the fall and the spring of 2021. There will be no large festivals similar to the Cannes Festival.

“Before, transfer of cultural and educational events into an online format was discussed as a possibility, which exists along other opportunities involving a live contact with the art, but today it has become a necessity and, probably, will become a trend, which will change perception of the art after the exit of the society and the countries from the pandemic.” The speaker was confident that many of the new virtual events would become part of the people’s everyday life. Thus, during the pandemic, already in the first month, the number of visitors at the Hermitage Museum doubled the number of “live” visits during the year. However, according to Mikhail Shvydkoy, such transfer of the museums into the online format – is not an act of art, but rather development of an educational and informational component.

Following the discussion, Mikhail Shvydkoy answered questions from members of the Gorchakov Club, participants of the Fund’s projects, which included representatives of art and culture from Russia and abroad.

Read more in Russian here