NEW YORK – On June 7, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) was joined by representatives of arts institutions and organizations calling for passage of the Save Our Stages Extension Act.
The Save Our Stages Act was signed into law in December 2020 and provided Shuttered Venue Operators Grants (SVOG) to eligible movie theaters, live venue operators, talent representatives, and performing arts organizations equal to 45% of their 2019 gross earnings with a maximum of $10 million in funding.
The Save Our Stages Extension Act was introduced in the House of Representatives in September 2021 and would extend the last day that SVOG recipients may use grant funds from December 31, 2021 to March 11, 2023. As of January, the SVOG program issued more than $1,918,124,440 in relief funds to recipients in the State of New York with more than $808,511,000 in grant dollars dispersed in the 12th Congressional District.
Small live music and entertainment venues have been hard-hit during the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier this year, the National Independent Venue Association reported a 50-percent no-show rate for ticketholders, which is significantly higher than the typical five percent of ticket buyers who don’t attend a performance. This has devastated many venues, which often rely on in-house sales to pay core bills.
“New York City – my district in particular – is the arts and culture capital of the world,” said Rep. Maloney. “What is New York without Broadway, off-Broadway, and independent theaters? COVID-19 decimated most of the industry, which is why I was so thrilled when the Save Our Stages Act was signed into law in December 2020. This critical legislation provided grants to eligible movie theaters, live venue operators, talent representatives, and performing arts organizations equal to 45% of their 2019 gross earnings with a maximum of $10 million in funding. This much needed financial relief provided a lifeline to institutions across the country, including so many in New York City, allowing them to re-open and continue the integral work of education, entertainment, and creativity. It is about time we release these funds –funds that are already there – by passing The Save Our Stages Extension Act. This will not only have a positive effect on New York City’s economy but on other major arts and cultural economies around the nation. As we move through and rebuild from the COVID-19 crisis, our artists and cultural institutions must be a part of that rebuilding and get the funding that they are entitled to.”
“I thank our federal partners for taking another step towards a full economic recovery for our creative communities. By passing the Save Our Stages Extension Act — we can guarantee the continued availability of much needed funds for our cultural communities,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “My ‘Blueprint for New York City’s Economic Recovery’ supports inclusive growth for our entertainment sectors, and we have helped do just that through innovative ideas like reforming zoning regulation on dance. Our administration remains committed to supporting our local venues and talent as they recover from COVID-19, and I look forward to continuing to work with federal partners to ‘Get Stuff Done’ every day.”
“The Broadway League is proud that Representative Maloney and her Congressional colleagues showed confidence in the live theatre industry by supporting Broadway through the most challenging period in its long history. A robust live entertainment sector is critical to the success of our economy as Broadway is one of the leading drivers of tourism and employment in New York, while national tours generate billions of dollars in economic activity in the 200-plus cities they visit each year. We are delighted Congress included Broadway in the SVOG and enabled many shows to reopen, however live entertainment still faces significant threats as COVID continues to force events all over the country to cancel and to close,” said Charlotte St. Martin, President, the Broadway League.
“SVOG is the largest investment in culture ever made by our country. It helped not only performing arts venues, but small dance studios and community cultural organizations to stay alive during the pandemic. And for most live arts organizations, the recovery is not here yet. If SVOG is not extended, if the funds do not go to the hardest hit cultural sector for which it was intended, we will lose valuable cultural spaces and the economy-enlivening activity they bring,” said Lucy Sexton, New Yorkers for Arts and Culture.
“Extending the Shuttered Venues grant program will provide the crucial support needed for performance organizations, especially small ones like my own, to fully continue serving culture- loving audiences and our commitment to uplifting female, BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ artists,” said Ana Mari de Quesada, the Wild Project.