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The Murphy Arts District announced Sunday that it laid off 49 full- and part-time employees as The Griffin Restaurant ceases operations in accordance with Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s state-wide directive.

MAD COO Pam Griffin said the organization is retaining 16 core staff members, but employees that can work from home are doing so.

“It is a skeleton staff, and as you guys know we’re in very uncertain times,” Griffin said. “It’s difficult to speak about the future when things change so much every day.”

Griffin said the 49 employees who were laid off will be able to apply for their jobs again when things calm down and re-opening the doors is possible.

According to the release, a few shows have been canceled or postponed, including Danny Gokey’s April 26 show at the First Financial Music Hall — refunds are available at Eventbrite — and Ron White’s May 14 show, which has been rescheduled to Dec. 17. Tickets already purchased will be honored at the new date.

The seasonal farmer’s market is also paused for 2020 and will resume in 2021, according to the press release. MAD announced last week that the Southern Food and Wine Festival is also paused for 2020 and will resume in 2021.

Griffin said MAD is working with agents and artists to reschedule other upcoming shows.

“We appreciate everyone being patient with us as we work through that process, which is not necessarily a quick process,” she said.

She said MAD will release updates with information about each show as it becomes available, and that all tickets purchased will be honored.

Griffin said tickets are still on sale for upcoming shows and there are some further out that hopefully won’t have to be rescheduled.

She also said MAD is disappointed students aren’t able to visit the AstroZone exhibit, but there is a virtual ArtInsight Class with art educator Gay Bechtelheimer that will broadcast from MAD’s Facebook page. Bechtelheimer will read “Matisse’s Garden” by Samantha Friedman and will follow that with crafts for kids to create their own compositions.

“We greatly appreciate the support of the community and can’t wait to be together again and enjoy MAD,” Griffin said. “We just really appreciate everyone’s support and hope everyone stays safe at this time.”

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