On Friday, Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) announced the new Performing Arts Venue Relief Program to help performing arts venues which have lost significant revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications open Monday, October 5, and the program will provide $10,000 grants to up to 120 for-profit and nonprofit Chicago-based performing arts venues who have been closed to performances. The 2020 City of Chicago Performing Arts Venue Relief Grants Program was created, with support from the Walder Foundation and the Arts for Illinois Relief Fund and in partnership with Accion, to support this critical arts and culture sector with the challenges they face from the pandemic.
"Performing arts venues are incredibly important to our City because they make up the fabric of our neighborhoods," said Mayor Lightfoot. "In order to keep this rich, diverse part of our City's culture alive, it is critical that we continue to provide space and support for our artists, cultural workers and performing arts companies. I am proud to work with DCASE on this initiative and look forward to finding more innovative ways to help out our performing arts community during these uncertain times."
Eligible entities must be located in Chicago, have a PPA (Public Place of Amusement) or Music and Dance license, and primarily produce or present performing arts programming – including theatre, dance, performance art, and/or live music or live mixing by DJs. Complete eligibility criteria and applications will be available at chicago.gov/artsvenuerelief beginning on Monday, October 5. Completed applications must be received by October 23 for consideration and grants will be distributed on a lottery system to qualified recipients.
Performing arts venues have faced large challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic since they focus on bringing people together for live, shared experiences. With ongoing expenses for their facilities still accruing, these businesses and organizations are still experiencing significant losses of income. They will also be some of the last to reopen at full capacity, and when they do, will have to drastically rethink capacity, seating, staging, and other considerations that will impact their recovery.
Funds will be allocated through an equity lens that considers the history of disinvestment and the disproportionate burden of COVID-19 on the South and West sides of Chicago. The program will prioritize funding organizations located on the South and West sides, in Low and Moderate Income (LMI) community areas, and organizations that have not received grants through the Arts for Illinois Relief Fund or the City of Chicago’s Together Now program.
Read more about the requirements here and apply by October 23rd here.