Performing art venues awarded grant to provide COVID-19 relief

Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 5:27 PM CST
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Many performing art venues were left out of many COVID-19 relief funds.

The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) was established by the Small Business Administration (SBA) to assist those venues who were uneligible to participate in other COVID-19 relief programs.

The General Manager of the Amarillo Civic Center Complex, Sherman Bass, says they were unable to get other relief funds, so they decided to apply for SVOG and were awarded about $893,000.

Bass says there is an opportunity to receive a revised amount that might increase and there is also a potential of applying for supplemental grants if they are eligible.

He says this grant will help them recover expenses due to closures and loss of business during the pandemic.

“It’s a huge help, while Amarillo seems to have recovered pretty well from COVID, it was a slow go for public assembly facilities and you know we held our community’s vaccination clinic in the building from January through June, most of the North End of the building and it continued into August and so during that time we a lot of space that wasn’t able to be leased, we still have the expenses and during the entire time until this August, we had not seen a tour in our building since February of 2019, so it’s been a long drought, but we still had a lot of expenses but no revenue to make up for it,” said Bass.

He says the center is back open now and this fall has been one of the busiest on record for community events and tours and says they are on track to get back to normal this fiscal year.

“It will help us do more in the sense of what we had to cut while we didn’t have revenue coming in, but our doors are open and we see a lot of promoters either making updates they weren’t able to tour during or just coming to Amarillo for the first time, so we’re excited about the number of events we’ve been having,” said Bass.

TEXAS Outdoor Musical has also received this grant to help them recover.

They were awarded a little over $775,000.

Buster Ratliff, Director of Operations for TEXAS, says the grant will be used mainly for cast and crew salaries.

“Instead of having to consistently look for those needed funds that help kick off the show because ticket sales are our main revenue generator for the TEXAS Outdoor Musical, so instead of waiting on the ticket sales to happen and so all those little costs of getting theater repairs and just production repairs that we have to make and things around the theater and looking for those funds and then turn around and start having to pay cast and crew and everything else. this allows us to know all of those things are taken care of,” said Ratliff.

Ratliff says this also helps them look ahead a few years for future planning.

“I mean we can not just focus season to season now we can start looking three and five and ten years down the road and know that we’re going to get there and this played a big part in it,” said Ratliff.

For a full list of those venues awarded this grant, click here.

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