Photography by Danny Fulgencio

In an alternate universe, The Residents, Black Pumas and Marty Stuart pulled up to the Kessler and knocked our socks off.

The Oak Cliff Film Festival filled every seat, June 4-7, and we danced until the wee hours in the lobby of the Texas Theatre.

The Polyphonic Spree celebrated its 20th anniversary with a two-night stand and recorded a live album of cover songs in Oak Cliff.

But this is 2020.

Arts organizations in Dallas were kneecapped in March when the pandemic hit the United States. They lost more than $67 million in just five months, according to a survey of 91 arts organizations distributed by the Arts Community Alliance, the Dallas Arts District and the Dallas Area Cultural Advocacy Coalition.

The survey also found that 1,219 artists and staff members had been laid off or furloughed.

By March 30, TACA had raised $350,000 for an emergency relief fund to help organizations through those early days of the economic shutdown. The nonprofit later began awarding “pop-up grants” of up to $2,000 and created a “resiliency initiative,” which offers grants, workshops and other resources.

Terry Loftis, an Oak Cliff native and Kessler resident who is the president and executive director of TACA, says he’s on calls with arts organizations, helping them make whatever connection they need and having conversations about best practices in coronavirus times.

There’s no easy recovery, but many are beginning to find their footing again.

“Everyone is learning to be innovative on their delivery,” Loftis says.

The upside is that it’s forcing organizations, such as the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and the Nasher Sculpture Center, to offer a deeper level of community engagement.

And it’s forced everyone to be nimble and pinpoint values more than ever.