Area arts leaders tout ‘lifeline’ as Senator Klobuchar visits

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“We want to make sure everyone has a seat in the theater,” the Minnesota Democrat said Tuesday morning at an event outside the Mayo Civic Center.

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Misha Johnson, chief executive of the Rochester Civic Theater, said federal support through the Save Our Stages law has been crucial as the local organization prepares for its first performance of the new season, starting September 16. .

Misha Johnson, Acting Executive Director of the Rochester Civic Theater, speaks at an event with U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar to highlight the Shuttered Venue Operators grant, which was created by the Save Our Stages Act, outside of the Rochester Civic Theater on Tuesday August 24, 2021, in downtown Rochester. Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin

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“Save Our Stages will allow us to keep our doors open for the Rochester Civic Theater, as well as for non-profit performing arts groups,” she said of the $ 308,693 grant that the organization receives.

The new funds, combined with other stimulus funds, are helping the theater restore two full-time positions, as well as maintain three part-time staff, after putting staff on leave and cutting back on hours. last year.

Federal legislation defended by Klobuchar provides about $ 16 billion in aid to independent concert halls, cinemas and similar cultural institutions that have struggled amid the pandemic.

The bill provides for grants to cover up to six months of wages and costs, including rent, utilities and maintenance. Applicants must have lost at least 25% of their annual income to qualify for the program.

The Small Business Administration, which administers the funds, reports that 230 Minnesota sites received a total of nearly $ 178 million, with an average of nearly $ 774,000 per site. The highest grant approved in the state was at the program’s $ 10 million cap and the lowest was $ 2,348.

Mike Speck, director of operations for the Chatfield Center for the Arts, speaks at an event with U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar to highlight the Shuttered Venue Operators grant, which was created by the Save Our Stages Act, outside from the Rochester Civic Theater on Tuesday, August 24.  2021, in downtown Rochester.  Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin

Mike Speck, director of operations for the Chatfield Center for the Arts, speaks at an event with U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar to highlight the Shuttered Venue Operators grant, created by the Save Our Stages Act, outside the Rochester Civic Theater Tuesday August 24. 2021, in downtown Rochester. Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin

For the Chatfield Center for the Arts, the funds have helped overcome the need to cancel shows on its 10th anniversary, according to Mike Speck, the organization’s director of operations.

“The Shuttered Venue (Operator) grant was a lifeline, absolutely,” he said of the $ 70,609 grant provided by the Save Our Stages legislation.

Klobuchar said unprecedented federal support for the arts is critical as organizations provide about $ 2 billion in economic activity throughout Minnesota in a typical year.

“We are talking about everything from museums to theaters and the like,” she said.

Hal Cropp, artistic director of the Commonweal Theater in Lanesboro, said arts groups were doing all they could to survive, but it often happened with lower numbers.

The 15-member Artist Trustee ensemble switched to federally funded virtual performances, which drew 2,200 viewers last year, when live performances weren’t possible. The group received $ 140,518 in grant funds through the new legislation.

“Of course, that’s down from 22,000 people in 2019,” he said of the six performances.

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar speaks at an event to highlight the Shuttered Venue Operators grant, which was created by the Save Our Stages Act, outside the Rochester Civic Theater on Tuesday, August 24, 2021, in the Rochester town center.  Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar speaks at an event to highlight the Shuttered Venue Operators grant, which was created by the Save Our Stages Act, outside the Rochester Civic Theater on Tuesday, August 24, 2021, in the Rochester town center. Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin

Klobuchar said federal support for the arts will help places and organizations continue their work.

“It came at a very critical time, when we are still in the pandemic, but coming out of it,” she said.

Regional support

The Federal Small Business Administration reports that a total of $ 2,271,829 was provided to 17 organizations in the eight-county area of ​​southeastern Minnesota through Stuttered Venues Operator grants funded by the Save Our Stages Act.

The organizations are:

  • Chatfield Center for the Arts Inc., 405 Main Street S .; $ 70,609; live room operator or promoter

  • Commonweal Theater Company, 208 Parkway Ave. N., Lanesboro; $ 140,518; performing arts organization operator

  • Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center, 28097 Goodview Drive, Lanesboro; $ 447,935; museum operator

  • Mantorville Theater C, 5 W. Fifth St .; $ 35,323; theater producer

  • Olde Pine Theater, 113 Second St. SW, Pine Island; $ 39,460; live room operator or promoter

  • CABB LLC, 160 Tyler Road N., Red Wing; $ 488,441; cinema operator

  • Sheldon Theater, 443 W. Third St., Red Wing; $ 223,100; live room operator or promoter

  • Goonie’s Inc., 1623 Ninth Avenue NE, Rochester; $ 40,680; live room operator or promoter

  • Gray Duck Entertainment LLC, 619 Sixth Ave. NW, Rochester; $ 6,033; cinema operator

  • Rochester Civic Theater, 30 Civic Center Drive, Suite 100; $ 308,693; performing arts organization operator

  • Rochester Directory, 103 Seventh St. NE; $ 50,642; performing arts organization operator

  • Rochester Symphony and Choir Orchestra, 1530 Greenview Drive SW, Suite 120; $ 16,163; performing arts organization operator

  • Great River Shakespeare Festival, 121 E. Third St, Winona; $ 134,780; theater producer

  • Hurry Back Productions Inc., 655 Franklin St., Suite 3, Winona; $ 42,350; performing arts organization operator

  • Mid West Music Fest, W. Third St., Winona; $ 69,876; live room operator or promoter

  • Sammis Family Production Co., 204 E. Wabasha, Winona; $ 121,461; live room operator or promoter

  • Zumbrota Area Arts Council, 96 E. Fourth St .; $ 35,766; live room operator or promoter


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