Ten months after COVID restrictions began, businesses and organizations across Connecticut are still struggling to get by during the pandemic. That is especially true for our state's arts community.
Now, a new grant program is helping those organizations.
The COVID Relief Fund for the Arts was set up by the governor's administration to provide support to the state’s arts community through the COVID pandemic.
Under the program, more than 150 nonprofit arts organizations across the state are receiving a piece of $9 million in grant money.
The money is going a long way for organizations and venues that have been suffering financially.
"COVID has forced the cancellation of over 200 events and shows at the Shubert, and thousands more throughout Connecticut. We have laid off hundreds of administrative and events staff and our local union stagehands have been out of work since March," said John Fisher, Executive Director of the Shubert Theatre.
Help arrived for the Shubert Theatre and a long list of other arts organizations across Connecticut through the state's relief program.
"Venues was one of the categories. It actually also went to performing arts groups who essentially cannot make any revenue because those venues are not open for them, as well as for arts education," said Daniel Fitzmaurice, Executive Director of the Arts Council of Greater New Haven. "It's allowed them to keep their artists paid and their staff to some extent. They're all smaller than they were before, but that's been critical to do both things, to get ready to reopen which is coming. And also to be doing a lot of virtual programming that has been really taken up."
Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz and the managing director for the Long Wharf, Kit Ingui, also highlighted the investment as critical given the role the arts community plays in the local economy.
"They provide more than $4 dollars a year in economic benefit to our state and they support 57,000 jobs in our state," said Lt. Gov. Bysiewicz.
"Typically, we employ a Connecticut based staff of about 65 people. We also bring in about 75 guest artists, actors, designers, directors, whether from our community or outside the community each season. Nearly every dollar invested in long wharf goes right back into our local economy," said Ingui.
According to the state's website, the COVID Relief Fund for the Arts uses federal CARES Act funding from the state’s coronavirus relief fund.
You can find a full list of organizations, click here.