Amid fears of the growing coronavirus pandemic, local arts institutions have announced their temporarily closing or are cancelling shows. WGBH Radio's Exective Arts Editor Jared Bowne spoke with WGBH News' All Things Considered anchor Arun Rath about these developments. This transcript has been edited for clarity.

Arun Rath: So there have been a lot of developments just in the last little while regarding cancellations throughout the performance world. Can you start just bringing us up to date on what the latest are?

Jared Bowen: Yeah, I think what we've seen here is the Boston arts landscape has essentially closed down today. We know that they've been monitoring what's been happening in other cities, using Washington and Seattle in particular, and other arts rich environments as a as a bellwether for what should happen here in Boston, where we're also seeing escalating cases.

So just within the last couple of hours, we've seen four major museums come together and decide to close for at least 30 days. Those are the Museum of Fine Arts, the ICA — the Contemporary Art Museum, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and the Harvard Art Museums. Those museum directors, I'm told, were on the phone all day today trying to come together as one, recognizing that they do serve one community and have decided that they will close for up to 30 days. They'll monitor what the health officials are saying and may open early. Also, the Boston Symphony Orchestra announced today that for the foreseeable future, they have closed. It's unclear when they'll reopen. They do intend to try to share and disseminate some video of concerts to have some ties to the community. We've also seen the New England Aquarium and the Museum of Science announce that they're closing in both instances there for about three weeks.

Rath: We have all these cascade of announcements coming down. You mentioned that there was some coordination among these institutions. Is that why we're hearing about this all at once? They're kind of working this out together?

Bowen: I think they are. I think this is uncharted territory. We've never seen anything like this before. Up until this moment, I was thinking the most comparable moment that I've seen in my years of coverage is the Boston Marathon bombings, where we found a city that was kind of afraid to be in the same space and in large spaces based on what had happened in that case where there were targeted instances. And I think that the community has just now recognized that people are not feeling comfortable. You look to places like New York where the governor has indicated that there can be gatherings of no more than 500 people, which is essentially meant the closing of the Metropolitan Museum and now Broadway as well. And they realize that this is really the most prudent and safe thing to do for its patrons.

Rath: I think through every kind of big trauma that our culture has been through in recent years, and in cases like this, the performing arts are always a place for people to come together and cope in a way with it. And to be deprived of it. I can only imagine how it feels for the performers.

Bowen: Well, I can tell you what it feels for me, and I'm struggling with it. I am somebody who, the arts definitely nurture me. This is why I do what I do. I consider myself — while I am a critic and a journalist — I'm also a champion of the arts community here and really supporting what's happening. And people have been asking me, do you plan to attend events? And I looked at my health, my age and thought, okay, I'm taking the precautions. It's OK for me to do because it does feed my soul. And I plan to go to Boston Lyric Opera's 'Norma,' which was three years in the making when it was to open this weekend. They've also added to the list of closures that it won't be happening. And so, yes, I think for the first time that I can think of, we won't have those outlets. I think you have a lot of people who'll be at home watching Netflix and finding other ways .... I'm not even sure people will feel comfortable enough to go to art galleries if they are open.

This is very, very different and very uncharted territory for us all.

Rath: Because it's uncharted territory and pretty early, it might be difficult to say, but are there any senses of making adaptations to somehow doing performances online, to do virtual performances, to connect with audiences?

Bowen: That's a really good question. And actually our sister station here WCRB has been working with some of these music groups. I know that there was an audio recording of Norma that was done last night. Again, this is an opera that hadn't been staged in more than 40 years in Boston.

Rath: We were really excited about this.

Bowen: So excited because it's just such a difficult performance that has to happen with the lead and Norma and they [The Boston Lyric Opera ] thought they had found it in this particular performe. So at some point, WCRB will be broadcasting that, either broadcasting it or making it available on lifestream The same with Boston Baroque and Boston Chamber Music Society concerts. I think our station here has very much stepped in to find ways that they can make these music concerts accessible. I mean, this is what you really have to remember here, whether it's a museum exhibition, it's a play or some sort of musical production, these are often years in the making. That's no exaggeration. It takes years to get the contracts, to book the artists, to build the sets, to design the sets. So this is ... I don't know if it's going overboard to say catastrophic, but I think in some instances it may be for how long these arts institutions will have to remain closed.