An open letter to State Governors (PA only)

Save Pennsylvania’s Independent Venues From Permanent Closure Due To COVID-19

8 so far! Let’s get to 10 signers!

I write today to urge you to allocate dedicated funding for Pennsylvania’s independent performance spaces from the remaining funds provided to the state through the CARES Act. The pandemic hit live entertainment venues hard and fast, causing them to lose nearly 100% of their revenue since they were forced to abruptly close in March. It is highly unlikely that any of these venues will return to business as usual for at least another 12 months given safety concerns with large public gatherings and tour postponements well into 2021. How are these small businesses supposed to survive? The answer is simple. They won’t. Not without the help of additional funding. And if Pennsylvania loses its venues, it loses jobs, potential for economic growth and the soul and cultural integrity of the state. Through legislation introduced by Representative Wheatley, Pennsylvania needs assistance for independent venues that have derived at least 70% of their 2019 revenue from the sale of tickets for live events or are businesses that are directly reliant on ticketed live entertainment events but are not directly in receipt of ticket revenue. The grant would help eligible venues pay for operations, payroll, rent or mortgage, utilities and other business expenses other than property taxes. The PA SOS Act would take into account eligible venues in Pennsylvania, which impacts for-profit, non-profit, and government owned entities, as unfortunately other programs issued by the state did not help a majority of performance venues. By calculations from a recent Chicago study that estimated $1 spent at a small venue resulted in $12 of economic activity (dining, coffee, local transportation, hotels, retail, etc.), our state’s venues contribute nearly $7 billion dollars to Pennsylvania’s economy. They generate revenue, create jobs, boost tourism and enliven communities. It’s time for these important economic institutions to get the assistance they need and deserve. We urge you to join the other states and cities that have supported their constituent owners of independent venues, promoters, festivals, artists and other critically impacted aspects of the arts & entertainment sector. States that have already funded their arts & entertainment economies include: Oregon - $10 million allocated to independent venues Montana - $10 million allocated to independent venues Illinois - $60 million allocated to “heavily distressed industries”, including venues Kansas - $2 million allocated to venues Vermont - Up to $50,000 available per venue Nashville, TN - $2.5 million allocated to venues New Hampshire - $12 million allocated to venues Wisconsin - $15 million allocated to venues Other city support includes Portland, Indianapolis, Memphis, Sacramento, Denver, and more. The creative economy takes years to develop, and we cannot let Pennsylvania get set back during this critical time of recovery.

First sent on October 27, 2020 by Pennsylvania NIVA

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