Local art community ask senators to help ‘Save our Stages’

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) — Georgia’s Art Community is fighting to save performing arts and entertainment venues around the state.

A group of leaders from the community sent letters to senators Purdue and Loeffler asking for support to help keep over 3,000 venues operating during the pandemic.

More than 75 people within Georgia’s music and art community are asking for congressional help.

“I do hope that our senators are able to work something into the Restart Act. I can’t imagine going to Atlanta and not being able to visit the FOX and not being able to see the Nutcracker,” said Brian Renko, executive director for Allied Arts in Milledgeville.

According to the general manager for Macon’s Hargray Capitol theatre, more than 3,000 music and art venues within the state closed down because of the pandemic. The shut down impacted revenue, artists and employees, and Georgia’s economy.

“A lot of places will be closed for 12-15 months with zero income coming in while still having bills as well as their employees not working, ” said Beasley.

Beasley says with his venue closed Downtown Macon has lost nearly $30,000 this year.

“So right now that’s 25,000 people not coming Downtown or spending money at the restaurants and not staying in hotels, its a bigger impact economically,” explained Beasley.

Beasley says the theater received funds from the paycheck protection program but ran out money four months ago.

Renko says Baldwin County is losing money too.

“We don’t have the local residents coming downtown for the first Friday. We don’t have them coming down for our events both with the Black Heritage Plaza and Allen’s Market. We don’t have them coming down for our art exhibit openings,” said Renko.

These local advocates for the arts are a part of a campaign called “Save our Stages.”

It’s a nationwide push to encourage congressional leaders to pass the “Restart Act.” They say the proposal would give much needed financial relief to performing arts venues that have been hit the hardest by closures, layoffs, and reductions during the pandemic.

“The ‘Save our Stages Act’ is actually just a part of the Restart Act, a portion of it,” said Renko.

According to the executive director, the save our stage act would provide six months of financial support and expenses that would allow venues to meet local and federal social distancing guidelines.

It will only apply to small, independent venue operators, promoters, and talent reps.

“Saves our stages is not only for music venues, but it includes comedy clubs, theatrical venues, nonprofits as well,” said Beasley.

Beasley says he has been in contact with both senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue for the last couple of weeks. He says they seemed interested but he’s not too sure. Now, it’s a just waiting game.

41NBC reached out to both senator and received no comment at this time.

Categories: Atlanta News, Baldwin County, Bibb County, Georgia News, Local News

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