U.S. Representatives Derek Kilmer (WA-06) and Marilyn Strickland (WA-10) announced that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will open applications for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program to provide financial relief to live performance and art venues on Thursday, April 8, 2021. The SVOG program was established by the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act, and amended by the American Rescue Plan Act, and includes over $16 billion in grants to shuttered venues, to be administered by SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance. The announcement was made after Reps. Kilmer and Strickland sent a March 12th letter urging the SBA to provide guidance and open applications for struggling venues as soon as possible.
“Throughout our region, there are venues – for live music, theater, cinema, the arts, and more – that contribute significantly to community vitality. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for them. That’s why Congress took action in December to help ensure that these vital assets in our community could persevere – and continue to employ people long into the future,” said Rep. Kilmer. “Unfortunately, after that bill was signed into law, these local small businesses did not receive the guidance they needed to get the relief they so desperately deserve. That’s why I worked with Rep. Strickland to push the federal government to speed up the process. I’m thrilled that the SBA promptly took action to ensure our local venues have access to the support they need.”
“Across the South Sound, I have heard the many desperate calls for help from live performance and art venues,” said Rep. Strickland. “Many of these struggling businesses have had to make incredibly difficult financial decisions, like temporarily closing or laying off employees, in order to survive with little help from the federal government. Ensuring immediate access to the SVOG program for live performance and art venues, which are so vital to communities across the nation, will be critical in allowing them to re-open as soon as it is safe to do so. I was proud to work with Congressman Kilmer to highlight how urgently venues need this funding, and I want to thank the Small Business Administration for responding diligently to our request.”
“Thank you to Congresswoman Strickland and Congressman Kilmer for advocating for live venues and urging the SBA to open the SVOG program without delay. The COVID-19 pandemic has deeply affected both of my businesses, Airport Tavern and Danno Presents, along with our employees, performers, and my livelihood as a small business owner. Both businesses have been shut down since March, leaving us with ticket refunds, no-shows, and zero income. The recent announcement of the SVOG program opening has lifted our spirits and flipped on a light at the end of the tunnel. While we are all still struggling every day to get by, this news has given us hope and enabled us to begin laying plans to reopen as we move through structured phases and hope to receive funds through a SVOG grant to do so. We look forward to reopening, and serving as a beacon in Tacoma’s tourism rebound as well as our local economy. Airport Tavern and Danno Presents are a driving force behind bringing thousands of people from all over the United States into our city and across the Pacific Northwest to see concerts and live performances, which helps uplift traffic to all local businesses. People can’t wait to see live music again, and we can’t wait to give it to them – Congresswoman Strickland’s advocacy and the upcoming opening of the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant will help make that possible,” said Dan Rankin, owner of Airport Tavern and Danno Presents, two small businesses in Tacoma, WA.
The SVOG program is intended to support shuttered live venue operators or promoters, theatrical producers, live performing arts organization operators, museum operators, motion picture theatre operators, or talent representatives that have experienced significant revenue losses of at least 25 percent. The grants can be used for expenses such as payroll costs, rent, utilities, and personal protective equipment and will initially go to the persons or entities with the most need. Eligible applicants may qualify for grants equal to 45% of their gross earned revenue, with the maximum amount available for a single grant award of $10 million. $2 billion is reserved for eligible applications with up to 50 full-time employees.