(NOTE: NJArts.net does not usually run press releases verbatim but will make an exception in this case, in order to get this information out to New Jersey arts supporters as quickly and comprehensively as possible. — Jay Lustig, editor)
New Jersey Independent Venue Association has launched a public petition urging the State to rescue NJ’s performing arts venues with dedicated relief funds from Federal CARES Act money that was previously provided to the State. Performing arts venues were the first to close and will be the last to open due to the pandemic. Many are still struggling financially due to millions of dollars in collective net losses. NJIVA’s request of $15 million in CARES funding will help ensure that NJ’s independent live arts venues and presenters survive the pandemic shut down.
Recently, five million dollars in CARES funds were made available to nonprofit arts organizations, some of which were performing arts venues. These funds did not aid the many vital for-profit venues and promoters, nor do they completely meet the relief needs of all NJ’s nonprofit performing arts venues.
“Live performance venues are a vital part of the NJ economy,” says Sara Scully, Executive Director, Hopewell Theater. “The State has an obligation to provide equitable aid to all venues that need it.”
Over a dozen of NJ’s valued performing arts venues and presenters are Associates of NJIVA: 1867 Sanctuary Arts and Culture Center, Anchor Rock Club, ArtPride New Jersey Foundation, Bananas Comedy Club, Bird and Betty’s, Count Basie Center for the Arts, Debonair Music Hall, Hopewell Theater, Mayo Performing Arts Center, McCarter Theatre Center, The Newton Theatre, Outpost in the Burbs, Roy’s Hall, and State Theatre New Jersey.
New Jersey would not be alone in making this relief funds allocation. Other States have already shown they value their live performance venues and presenters by providing them with relief funds. To save live venues Wisconsin gave $15 million, Illinois $60 million, Oregon $50 million, Maryland $15 million, Montana $10 million, Ohio $15 million, DC $20 million.
On December 22nd, 2020 NJIVA also delivered a letter to Governor Murphy signed by over 13 of NJ’s performing arts venues urging the state to allocate $15 million for NJ’s indie performance spaces from the remaining CARES Act funds.
The public can review and sign the petition urging the State to provide CARES Funds to NJ’s live performance venues and presenters here. The petition will remain active for the month of January 2021.
NJIVA’s mission is to unify NJ’s diverse and proudly independent venue owners, operators, and presenters to foster mutual support and resource sharing, and advocate as a unified group for our shared priorities in order to preserve and nurture the ecosystem of independent venues, large and small.
Venues have played a crucial role in the development of NJ’s performing artists for over half a century by nurturing local, national and international talent, and providing a platform for these artists to build their careers and develop.
NJ’s independent venues — both non-profit and privately owned — provide thousands of jobs, as well as millions of dollar s in salaries, revenues, charitable donations and taxes. Therefore, it is critical to preserve and nurture the ecosystem of NJ independent venues, large and small.
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