Entertainment venues impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic can soon apply for assistance from the United States Small Business Administration.
The administration is launching a splash page for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant, aimed at assisting live venues, museums, movie theaters and other organizations impacted by long-term closures.
Applications for the critical economic relief program open Thursday, April 8, 2021.
Local organizations such as Blissfest Music Organization and the Great Lakes Center for the Arts are preparing to apply.
Increased protocols and cancellations have added costs to venues throughout the region. The Great Lakes Center for the Arts acquired infrastructure for touchless ticketing, masks, temperature scans, sanitizing stations and a Clorox T-360 Electrostatic Sprayer for cleaning the theatre.
“Like most in the arts industry, the Center has certainly experienced financial hardships due to reduced capacities and a lighter event schedule. The Center’s 2020 earned income was just 20% of the year prior. Support such as the shuttered venue grant helps supplement the losses and keep the Center open,” said Alexandra Myers, marketing director at the Great Lakes Centerfor the Arts.
“In a non-COVID year, the Center’s earned income only supports one third of operating expenses. Over $20,000 was invested in making the Center a responsible venue for patrons to visit,” Myers said.
Prior to the official grant application opening, the agency will host a national informational webinar to highlight the application process for potential eligible entities. The seminar is from 2:30-4 p.m. on Tuesday, March 30.
The Shuttered Venues Grant program was established by the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits and Venues Act, which appropriated $15 billion for it.
The American Rescue Plan Act, signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 11, 2021, appropriated an additional $1.25 billion, bringing the program funding to a total of $16.25 billion, with more than $16 billion allocated for grants.
“The Small Business Administration knows these venues are critical to America’s economy and understands how hard they’ve been impacted, as they were among the first to shutter. This vital economic aid will provide a much-needed lifeline for live venues, museums, movie theaters and many more,” said Isabella Casillas Guzman administrator at the Small Business Administration.
The Small Business Administration also prepared a website to answer frequently asked questions, video tutorials and more detailed information about the grant process. Applicants can explore this website at.
To prepare in advance of the grant application portal opening on April 8, potential applicants should get registered in the federal government’s System for Award Management — as this is required for an entity to receive a grant — and reference the preliminary application checklist and eligibility requirements.