New York City has created a new program called Curtains Up NYC that offers free application assistance for NYC businesses and nonprofits connected to live performance applying for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program of the federal government. This once thriving industry has been decimated by the Covid-19 pandemic as live venues will have been shuttered for well over a year. Further, tourism, a major economic engine for the city and a driver of live venue audience may not recover until 2025.
Organizations/companies that may apply for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant:
- Operators or promoters of places that have live performances.
- Theater producers.
- Live Performing arts organizations.
- Museums, zoos, and aquariums that meet certain guidelines.
- Movie theaters.
- Talent representatives.
- Must have been operating as of February 29, 2020.
- Must not have applied for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan on or after December 27, 2020.
Funds may be used for:
- Payroll costs.
- Rent payments.
- Utility payments.
- Scheduled mortgage payments (not including principal).
- Scheduled debt payments (not including principal) on any indebtedness incurred in the ordinary course of business prior to 02-15-20.
- Worker protection expenditures.
- Payments to independent contractors (not to exceed $100K in annual compensation per contractor).
- Other ordinary and necessary business expenses, including maintenance costs.
- Administrative costs (fees and licensing).
- State and local taxes and fees.
- Operating leases in effect as of 02-15-20.
- Insurance payments.
- Advertising, production transportation, and capital expenditures related to producing a theatrical or live performing arts production. (May not be primary use of funds).
Organizations/companies that are approved will receive a grant equal to 45 percent of your 2019 gross earned revenue, up to $10 million. $2 billion is reserved for eligible applications with up to 50 full-time employees.
Also helping some of these venues is the forthcoming Open Culture program that would allow eligible art and cultural institutions or cultural venues to use approved open space for artistic or cultural events. The Mayor’s Office of Citywide Event Coordination and Management (CECM), in consultation with the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Department of Buildings (DOB), the Police Department (NYPD), the Fire Department (NYFD), and any other agency designated by the Mayor, will establish the program by March 1, 2021. There will be an application fee of $20 for participation in the program. Open Culture will remain in effect until October 31, 2021, with the possibility of extension, but it would expire by March 31, 2022.