Carper at federal funding event

U.S. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), left, joins theater directors and Small Business Administration officials in August to celebrate federal relief funding that has helped keep theaters, live entertainment venues, museums and more alive through the closures of the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding now totals more than $30 million for Delaware venues.

U.S. Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons and U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.) joined representatives from the historic Queen theater in Wilmington this week to celebrate the success of the Shuttered Venue Operator Grant (SVOG) program. In all, Delaware venues will receive a total of just more than $30 million.

SVOG was a provision born out of the Save our Stages Act, legislation supported by Delaware’s congressional delegation. The SVOG program provides grants to eligible organizations that have suffered revenue loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Business types eligible for SVOGs include live venue operators, promoters, arts organizations, talent representatives, motion picture theater operators, museums and theatrical producers. Successful applicants can receive grants equal to 45 percent of their gross earned revenue, up to a maximum of $10 million. This week, the delegation celebrated The Queen receiving $1.3 million from the business-saving program.

“One of the pandemic’s hardest hit sectors was the live arts and entertainment industry,” said Carper. “I was proud to support the Save our Stages Act, which helped make this program possible. I am thrilled that these theaters can light up once again through this business-saving program, and provide arts and culture for years to come.”

“Our theaters, museums and other cultural institutions are central to the identity of communities throughout our state and country, and the pandemic threatened their very existence,” said Coons. “The Shuttered Venue Operator Grant, made possible thanks to federal legislation, has so far awarded billions in grants to thousands of eligible businesses, furnishing a much-needed lifeline to some of our hardest-hit performance venues and the folks whose livelihoods depend on them. I’m glad to support the SVOG program, I know some venues are still working through the process, and I look forward to the ongoing re-opening of cultural institutions in Delaware and throughout the United States.”

“Arts venues across Delaware faced unimaginable challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Blunt Rochester. “While other industries were able to adapt to the pandemic, the arts completely shut down, leading to massive layoffs and lost revenue for these spaces. But because of these federal dollars, the stages we all know and love, from a small movie theater in Dagsboro to a concert hall in Arden, have been able to re-open and operate safely so that Delawareans can once again experience the arts safely. I’m proud to support our stages, and I look forward to the impact these funds will have on our community and economy.”