Press Release 
Posted June 2, 2020

Sixteen performing arts centers and venues from around the state of Ohio, including the Stocker Arts Center at Lorain County Community College, are joining forces to survey the consumer confidence of their audiences amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Venues designed to bring together large gatherings of people to experience a live performance are being hit especially hard by the pandemic. Their doors were among the first to close and will most likely be the last to reopen as bans on large gatherings are still in place throughout the state.

“We know now is not the right time to reopen our doors and get back to business as usual,” explains David Mitchell, general manager of the Performing Arts Center at Kent State University at Tuscarawas who initiated the state-wide survey. “Our industry is making decisions in the interest of public health and safety to remain closed for now and we’re working our way through strategies for how and when we move forward. Surveying our audiences will assist us in formulating those strategies.”

The survey is designed to gauge when audiences will be comfortable coming back to theatres and venues to enjoy live entertainment again, whether it be a concert, Broadway show or family entertainment. According to Janet Herman Barlow, director of LCCC’s Stocker Arts Center, “While several studies have been done on a national level, we know that every state and community is reacting differently to the pandemic and it’s important that we understand how Ohioans and our Lorain County audiences are reacting.”

“While nothing beats the visceral feeling of attending a live performance surrounded by hundreds of people for a shared experience, we know those experiences as we knew them will be on hold for a bit longer,” Barlow added. “This survey will go a long way in telling us how long it might be before our audience will be comfortable returning, even after bans on large gatherings are lifted.”

Mitchell sums it up by saying, “Live entertainment and the arts will never go away. It’s what makes us human – to create and experience the joys that it brings. When times are tough, people seek out the arts and crave the feeling of unity. We need the healing power of the arts more than ever now and we’ll be ready to provide those in-person experiences once again when the time is right.”

Participating venues whose seating capacities range from 901 to 2,592 include:
• Akron Civic Theater (Akron)
• Canton Palace Theatre (Canton)
• Clark State Performing Arts Center (Springfield)
• Marathon Center for the Performing Arts (Findlay)
• Marion Palace Theatre (Marion)
• The Midland Theater (Newark)
• Oberlin College and Conservatory (Oberlin)
• Peoples Bank Theatre (Marietta)
• Performing Arts Center at Kent State Tuscarawas (New Philadelphia)
• The Ritz Theatre (Tiffin)
• Sandusky State Theatre (Sandusky)
• Stocker Arts Center (Elyria)
• Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium (Athens)
• Valentine Theatre (Toledo)
• Van Wert Live at the Niswonger (Van Wert)
• The Veterans Memorial Civic and Convention Center (Lima)

Surveys are being distributed via email and social media to existing customers of each venue. If you are a Stocker Arts Center patron and would like to participate in the survey, please email and the link to the survey will be sent to you.

More information on the Stocker Arts Center can be found at The Stocker Arts Center is located on the campus of Lorain County Community College, 1005 North Abbe Road, Elyria, Ohio.