Performing arts venues on brink of closures hope for Save Our Stages bill

Community

ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) —Performing arts venues around the area who have been hit hard by the pandemic might have a source of relief, if a ‘Save Our Stages’ act, targeted at giving live performing venues grant money, passes the senate floor.

For small venues like the Blackfriars Theatre, they are depending on money from the ‘Save Our Stages’ act to keep their theater open.

Performances at The Blackfriars have stopped due to covid-19 restrictions-and managers there are afraid the doors will close for good by the end of the year.

“One of things that is on the table is do we shut down complete. its a matter of survival to get any type of grant that can support us,” said Danny Hoskins, artistic and managing director Blackfriars Theatre.

On the other side of town, the OFC Creations Theatre Center has been able to continue their educational programs, but for both venues most of their incomes comes from ticket sales.

“A big part o funding for all arts organizations is tickets sales and right now you can’t sell tons of tickets to all these people to come see your show so the funding has to be offset somewhere else,” said Eric Johnson, executive director OFC creations.

The ‘Save our Stages’ Act, included in the new proposed government stimulus bill, would make $10 billion dollars in grants eligible to live venue operators, producers and other arts departments, to be used for payroll, rent, and personal protective equipment.

Art theaters around the area could apply for millions in grant funding if stimulus bill is passed, something leaders say is good for business and the community.

“It’s hurting, its hurting not only our patrons and the community that attended these organizations and that love to connect with the arts as patron but also all of our artists,” said Hoskins.

“Between election season and everything going on in the world right now, it’s just at a point where you need to be able to escape for a bit, you need to be able to express yourself, either as a performer on stage or as an audience member,” said Johnson.

For now these theatre will hold their own fundraising events, but they still need grants in order to keep their doors open and they are hoping the save our stages bill gets passed.

The act is included in the revised stimulus bill, called the HEROES act, was passed by the House of Representatives last month, and now it is waiting for a vote in the senate. 

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