4

Senate Introduces Save Our Stages Act to Grant Billions in Aid to Venues

Dallas' Kessler Theater is one local venue that will benefit from the save Our Stages Act.
Dallas' Kessler Theater is one local venue that will benefit from the save Our Stages Act.
Mike Brooks
^
Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

On July 29, U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota introduced the Save Our Stages Act in an effort to aid independently operated cultural and music venues affected by COVID-19 shutdowns.

If passed, the act, which is endorsed by the National Independent Venue Association and the National Independent Talent Organization, would provide Small Business Administration grants to music venues, theaters and other venues that rely on crowds in order to operate.

Its purpose, per the Senate’s statement, is to, “direct the SBA to make grants to eligible venues equal to the lesser of either 45 percent of operation costs from calendar year 2019 or $12 million,” and to "permit recipients to use grants for costs incurred during the COVID pandemic.”

Those costs include rent, mortgage and utilities, taxes and other administrative costs.

Local venues have been instrumental in getting the act introduced. The Granada routinely requested patrons support the effort with their signatures. Edwin Cabaniss, owner of the Kessler Theater in North Oak Cliff and chairman of the Music Venue Alliance-Texas, says that he and his fellow "precinct captains" have been "working closely with the entire Texas delegation, to educate them on the details of the bill and advocate for their co-sponsorship.

"With over 800 independent venues, there is no other music scene in the world quite like Texas," Cabaniss says. "We have been culturally diverse and economically significant for over 150 years, yet today we find ourselves on the verge of collapse."

While the national music industry is projected to lose $9 billion this year, the bill would provide $10 billion in funding for six months to independent venues.

In Dallas, cultural institutions have already suffered losses of approximately $34 million. The local creative scene, however, proved its ingenuity by quickly adjusting to changing mandates through new mediums. Drive-in and online entertainment have become a safe, socially distant choice for artists and theater groups, but music venues continue suffering the effects of shutdowns, no matter their efforts to stay afloat through fundraising.

"The government has mandated we remain closed for the greater good of the public," Cabaniss says. "We understand and are complying, but there has to be just compensation. We strongly endorse the Save Our Stages Act as it is the lifeline for our venues."

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.