Last Wednesday, July 22, a news release was sent out regarding the Save Our Stages Act. Proposed by one of our own senators, John Cornyn, and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), the bill would provide Small Business Administration grants for small, independent performance venues affected by the pandemic. From the release:
“Texas is home to a number of historic and world-class small entertainment venues,
many of which remain shuttered after being the first businesses to close,” said Sen.
Cornyn. “The culture around Texas dance halls and live music has shaped
generations, and this legislation would give them the resources to reopen their doors
and continue educating and inspiring Texans beyond the coronavirus pandemic.”
The proposed bill will authorize the appropriation of $10 billion to be distributed to small venues in grants equal to either 45% of their annual operating budget or $12 million, whichever is less. Recipients will be able to use the funds for an array of expenses, from rent and utilities to the purchase of PPE and expenditures relating to social distancing mandates.
The full press release can be found here.
How has the pandemic impacted venues?
Americans for the Arts has been tracking losses since the onset of the pandemic. As of July 13, financial losses for nonprofit arts organizations across the country are estimated at $9.1 billion. 96% of venues have canceled events, some as far out as 2021, resulting in another $10.4 billion in lost revenue from event-related spending such as restaurants, lodging and retail, and an estimated 561,000 job losses. The survey that feeds the data is based on only 17,200 responses thus far. As more venues participate, these numbers are expected to grow.
How has the pandemic affected artists?
According to the same report, the average artist/creative worker has lost an average of $21,000 since March. 62% are fully unemployed. 66% have lost access to supplies, resources, places and people necessary for their work. These are findings based on only 22,700 surveys. These numbers are expected to continue increasing as well.
To follow the Americans for the Arts COVID-19 Impact Update, click here.
What has this meant for Casa Mañana?
Well, it sure is quiet around here. Since March we have postponed four shows (a couple of times!), canceled five and reimagined our camp experience. Our 2020-21 season has been pushed back to begin in spring 2021, which resulted in additional cancellations. We are thrilled that we have been able to adapt somewhat, reconfiguring the main stage to produce the smaller Reid Cabaret Theatre shows with the ability to enforce the necessary safety precautions. Unfortunately, this also means that we can only accommodate one-tenth of our usual audience.
An average of 110,000 kids from across North Texas attend morning matinees of the Children’s Theatre series each year. For many, it is their first and only experience with live theatre. We look forward to hopefully hearing their excitement and chatter in December!
What can I do to help?
Stay engaged. Watching a musical or play on a screen from your couch isn’t the same, so take a moment, close your eyes, and remember that elation you feel when 1,000 other people are sharing your experience. Participate in online discussions and forums. Donate if you can. And when we get through this (and we WILL get through this), invite all of your friends to experience the joy of the theatre with you and help pack the houses!