Arts organizations get a boost from federal pandemic relief funds
The federal coronavirus relief package signed by President Donald Trump provides $15 billion to help performing arts groups and other cultural organizations.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, (D-NY) said that funding is from the Save our Stages Act, and will help a number of Rochester area arts groups including Geva Theatre Center.
Chris Mannelli, executive director at Geva, said while that theater will remain closed for live performances due to the pandemic, the new funding will help them bring some staff back on the job to prepare for the day when they can reopen.
“For many of us like Geva, which is a regional theater, who have 50-plus employees full-time usually and lots of part-time employees, we’ve had folks laid off since the beginning of this so this is a lifeline that will help us get some folks back to work and help us be able to prepare to reopen when it is safe to reopen again," Mannelli said.
He added that even if Geva cannot open for several months because of the pandemic, they and other arts organizations, need to start getting ready now.
"As we start to prepare to reopen, we need to bring those folks back because we’re not an industry that flips a switch and has a show the next day," Manelli explained. "It takes months and months of planning for us to have anything ready, so any kind of reopening plan for us has people coming back many months before we ever see a show on the stage."
Geva, like a lot of other arts organizations, has been offering virtual performances until it can reopen.
"(Geva) may have to think outside the box, we may have to look at what we might be able to do outside in the summertime, something different, but we’re trying to be inventive, we’re trying to come up with new ideas and keep ourselves moving." Manelli noted.