Stage blight: Stimulus funds provide hope for shuttered venues | Arts and Entertainment |

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Julie R. Garnsey, executive director of the Thousand Islands Performing Arts Foundation, took pictures at the Clayton Opera House in Clayton on Thursday. Karagan/Watertown Daily Times

The Chief Executive of Sally Palao (Ogdensburg Command Performances) was held on Friday in the George Hall Auditorium, which was set up for practice by bands and orchestras isolated from society. Christopher Lanney/Watertown Daily Times

Ava Connelly performed a puppet show for her mother Kelly and her brother Carter on July 3, 2019 at the Maple Arboretum Theater of the North Country Children's Museum. Potsdam Museum (Potsdam) may apply for funding from the "closed venue grant". The museum was closed in March due to a national blockade and took advantage of the PPP program. The museum reopened in September. Christopher Lanney/Watertown Daily Times

Julie R. Garnsey, executive director of the Thousand Island Performing Arts Foundation, represented a photo at the Clayton Opera House in Clayton on Thursday. Karagan/Watertown Daily Times

The seats at the Clayton Opera House have been empty since March. Karagan/Watertown Daily Times

Feature writer

Last spring, COVID-related lockdowns and work stoppages left live entertainment venues in total darkness, and with the passage of the coronavirus relief plan that signed federal laws, some signs of hope were seen in late December.

The $900 billion in relief includes a "preserve our stage" provision, which provides $15 billion for independent venues, including live music performance stages, movie theaters and museums closed by the pandemic.

In June, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Senator John Cornyn of R-Texas proposed the "Save Our Phases Act" to provide small business management subsidies to independent venue operators affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The grant can provide six months of financial support to keep the site running, pay for the employees, and, the senators said, "reserve vital economic sectors for the entire American community."

The "Preservation of Our Stage Act" was originally created by

, Which said 2.1 million e-mails were sent to elected officials expressing their support for the regulation. The relief program is now called the "closed site grant".

Senator Klobuchar said in a press release: "The Independent Arena was the first place to close, and it is probably the last place." "I refused to listen and let the music die. This is why I am proud.​​ Introduce the reasons for the bipartisan "Save Our Stage Act." This fund will provide small entertainment venues with the help they need to make a living and serve our children and grandchildren."

Senator Klobuchar said that the "Save Our Stage Act" aims to identify independent on-site venue operators, promoters and talent representatives to prevent large international companies from receiving federal funding.

Officials at local entertainment venues are waiting for more information about the plan. As of Thursday, SBA has not yet provided applications to the venues.

According to information from Wladis Law Firm, government relations is a practice area, and applicants who lose more than 90% of their income will be able to apply first within the first two weeks of the program. In the next 14 days of the program, applicants who have lost more than 70% of their income can apply.

"Thousand Island Performing Arts Fund" executive director Julie R. Garnsey said: "It is possible to get some money, but we are not sure what this looks like, and when the money will run out." Supervising the Clayton Opera House Operations.

Mrs. Ganxi said that the 15 billion US dollars may disappear soon.

She said: "Considering this point, many art organizations across the country will be completely closed down due to this pandemic."

According to Senator Klobuchar (Klobuchar), 90% of venue owners, promoters and bookers said that if there is no box office sales until later this year, if there is no additional financial assistance, they might Facing the risk of closing, it is estimated that there will be a loss of 9 billion US dollars.

Mrs. Garnsey, who hopes to apply for the second round of financing, said that the opera house lost 75% of its revenue last year due to the cancellation of the 2020 performance, but the situation could be worse if it were not for loyal customers.

She said: "Our customers usually donate every year." "They still donated last year. We have a few newcomers who just came out of the carpentry workshop because their message is: "We want to see you open the door again. "

Many customers who bought tickets for cancelled performances last year donated the cost of these tickets to the Opera House instead of asking for a refund.

"That's very big," Mrs. Garnsey said. "People really support us. We are lucky. I am very grateful to the people who stepped up to help us during this difficult year for everyone."

But the loss of ticket revenue is not the only economic loss of the opera house. Advertising revenue from the proposed programme manual dried up and four opera weddings were cancelled. After benefiting from the "Salary Protection Program" last spring, Mrs. Garenxi was forced to take three staff leave from early June to the end of October while continuing to work.

She said: "We bring them back with the hope that we will open our doors in the first six months of 2021." "We do have a flexible planned season, knowing that we may have to take a step back."

Mrs. Ganxi said that the entire 2021 season is ready.

She said: "We believe that our spring performance may be postponed to fall." "Our June performance may also be postponed. We hope that by July, we can return to normal."

However, the state government’s guidelines for the number of people allowed in public events such as concerts and sports events are wildcards; numbers related to COVID cases. Mrs. Ganxi said: "This is the biggest frustration." "Currently, there is no guidance, not even guidance such as "We want you to complete 25% of the production capacity". I think this is the biggest of all performing arts centers. One of the frustrations."

But even 50% capacity is a failed proposition for concerts held in opera houses.

Mrs. Ganxi said: "If we are told that we can only carry out 50% of the capacity, we will have to reschedule the schedule because we will lose money every time we perform." "We know that when it opens, we must be able to be close to full Load operation. With vaccines, and hope that this wave will ease, we expect it may be until the end of June or early July.

Sally F. Palao, the administrator of the Ogdensburg Performance Organization, said that her organization will be able to participate in some performances in 2020 before the pandemic is over.

Mrs. Palau said: "Since last March, we have no income." "So we will be eligible for the first 14 days of the grant period (save our stage). But until 14 days and the actual grant They haven’t posted anything yet."

Like TIPAF, OCP also has some sponsors who donated invisible performance fees to the organization last year.

Mrs. Palau said: "They are very supportive of us." "Among my season ticket holders, my renewal rate has increased by 86% from the previous year."

However, while she was waiting for the guidelines regarding the number of people in the crowd, OCP postponed the ticket sales, even though a performance had been scheduled for February 27th.

"Exhilarating to watch the most popular rock and country music ever."

Mrs. Palau said: "We will see if we can do it."

Mrs. Palau said that OCP did not profit from ticket sales.

Mrs. Palau said: "Because our mission is to make theaters affordable in economically difficult areas," "When I book, for example, a large musical like'South Pacific', I know what I get from tickets. The income will not pay for'South Pacific'. That's why it is important for me to donate. I write about grants and we will collect donations to make up the difference."

During the pandemic, OCP does not have to take anyone off because Mrs. Palao is its only employee.

She said: "The only thing I pay someone is to watch a show in the city."

These workers range from lighting designers to technical directors. Mrs. Palau's work includes office work, booking and being an artistic director.

She said: "I used to have some very generous people donating money because they really believed in what we did."

LPCA executive director James Lemons said that, like OCP, live performances at the Lake Placid Center are not the main source of funding. In addition to the "speech" series, LPCA also has a "pillar" of visual arts and art education.

Remus said: "Although we have achieved success on the other two pillars, these successes are not as strong as in the hosting circle." "Our model is different from some other display organizations. We do not rely on ticket sales. Revenue to profit. We pay fees through other places."

Mr. Lemon said that the performance of the 2021 season has been postponed to October.

He said: "Whether this happens, it is 50 to 50, depending on where we stand in the summer."

LCPA survived the COVID crisis without vacations and allowed 9 employees to continue working from home with the help of PPP. Mr. Lemon said, but a few part-timers were on leave.

Mr. Lemon said: "Because our income sources are indeed diversified, and we will not put all our hats in the same bucket, we can mitigate some potential losses." "This is challenging, but we are Work hard."

Steve Cullen, director of the Watertown Museum of Science and Technology, said that a large part of the reason for including museums in the law is the activities of the American Museum Association. He said the work of the museum is commendable.

However, the Science and Technology Center will not be able to use it. Mr. Karen said that the "closed venue grant" funds only allow museums or museums with "fixed" seating rooms, and among other requirements, "basically specific performance facilities with a daily performance schedule"; Technology Center There is nothing.

Director Sharon Vegh Williams said that Potsdam’s North County Children’s Museum may be applying for a “closed venue grant”.

Ms. Williams said: "I am waiting to hear more." "They have not resolved the details."

The museum was closed in March due to a national blockade and took advantage of the PPP program. It reopened in September.

Ms. Williams said that the museum has done a good job in grants, donations and other funding.

Ms. Williams said: "We are able to meet the needs of the community and fulfill our mission." "But it remains a challenge until the pandemic is controlled. We believe that with the support of our community, we will be able to move forward. "

Concert series such as the Norwood Village Green concert series are not eligible for the "closed venue grant" because the program is hosted by volunteers (not paid employees).

"As far as I know, we are not eligible," said Joseph M. Liotta, co-founder of Norwood's annual series. "This is not a bad thing, because instead of devoting limited but sufficient resources to management, we can do more in programming."

In March, Mr. Lyotard suspended the 2020 season.

Mr. Lyotard said: “We use the downtime for other purposes, such as completing our lighting projects and using new lighting to enhance outdoor seasonal celebrations, such as Halloween, and the holidays that just ended.” “We also use this. For a while, we have worked with Norwood Village to raise the standard of the Village Green lounge in a financially responsible way."

Mr. Liotta said that "excellent progress" has been made in terms of funding for the 2021 season.

He said: "We have planned 17 activities and are ready to introduce some of them based on the pandemic." "We are conservative and are ready to resume at the same time. Like everyone else, we remain flexible."

Kathy Del Guidice, executive director of ONNY, said that the Northern New York Orchestra also cancelled the remainder of the 2020 season last spring and is currently studying whether the organization is eligible to participate in the "closed venue program."

Jeffrey A. Szot, owner

Officials in St. Lawrence County said that the "closed site grant" program sounds like something helpful to his company, but he is looking for more information.

He said: "There is no content on the SBA website. I have talked with other people in the industry and we have not seen any applications or portals anywhere."

Since March, the three indoor cinemas of JS Cinemas (one of which is located in Potsdam, Massena and Canton) has been closed. The company's 56 cars in Massena were allowed to open in accordance with the pandemic guidelines.

Mr. Szot said the company may fall within the 90% loss range of the grant program.

He said: "My accountant is reviewing this." "We don't have a deadline because we can't find any documents. That being said, opening doors for business will complicate 90% of the work."

The owner of the Lowville City Hall Theater did not return telephone information for this report.

Johnson Newspaper 7.1

Award-winning Life Writer of the Northern Territory


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