120 Struggling Performing Arts Organizations To Get City Grants: Lightfoot

Theater seats are empty across the city in the age of COVID-19. (WTTW News)Theater seats are empty across the city in the age of COVID-19. (WTTW News)

Performing arts venues closed by the coronavirus pandemic can apply for $10,000 grants from the city starting Monday, city officials announced.

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The program, which was created with support from the Walder Foundation and the Arts for Illinois Relief Fund and in partnership with Accion, expects to help 120 venues, officials said.

“Performing arts venues are incredibly important to our city because they make up the fabric of our neighborhoods,” Lightfoot said. “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.”

Because performing arts venues bring people together for live, shared experiences, they have been hardest hit by the pandemic and will also be some of the last organizations to reopen at full capacity, officials said.

Organizations located on the South and West sides in low-income neighborhoods that have not gotten other help from the state or city will get priority for the grants, officials said. Residents of those neighborhoods have also suffered disproportionately from the coronavirus. 

To be eligible, organizations must have a public place of amusement permit and primarily produce or present performing arts programming, including theater, dance, performance art or live music or DJ performances. Both nonprofit and for-profit organizations are eligible for the grants, officials said.

Applications will be available online at chicago.gov/artsvenuerelief starting Monday, and must be received by Oct. 23. Organizations that are eligible and complete the application process will be entered into a lottery to determine if they receive a grant. 

Contact Heather Cherone: @HeatherCherone | (773) 569-1863 | [email protected]


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