Cultural organizations react to coronavirus shutdown

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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) Welcoming visitors to the Taubman Museum of Art will have to wait.

The doors have been closed for three weeks, a time Executive Director Cindy Petersen describes as extraordinary.

"Hard to believe," Petersen told WDB7 Friday afternoon, "and our employees are working remote, and being creative... now that we have pivoted to virtual."

The Taubman Museum is offering mini tours online and planning virtual classes.

A similar challenge and opportunity are evident down the street at Center in the Square.

"To make this thing real simple, we have about 180-thousand dollars a month in expenses, and no income so that makes it difficult," said President and CEO Jim Sears. "We can understand it that way, On the other hand the opportunities exist to provide programming through social media."

Mill Mountain Theatre was just two weeks away from raising the curtain on Dreamgirls, when it had to cancel the performances.

"It was in incredible show, even in those raw stages still in rehearsal, so to deliver that message it has a sting to it," said Producing Artistic Director Ginger Poole.

Mill Mountain has furloughed the majority of its staff.

The Taubman laid off a dozen part time employees.

Center in the Square hopes to keep everyone on the payroll through April, and longer if possible.

But all three are considering government loans and other measures that will help them until the doors reopen.

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