Central Ohio Groups Receive Over $41M in Shuttered Venue Operators Grants

EXPRESS LIVE! has been closed due to COVID. Photo by Anne Evans.
EXPRESS LIVE! was a venue that had shuttered temporarily due to COVID. Photo by Anne Evans.

The US Small Business Administration has announced that they have distributed over $7.5 billion in Shuttered Venue Operators Grants (SVOGs) to live entertainment small businesses, nonprofits, and venues. 

As of July 26, 44 of those grants went to support theaters, museums, concert venues, live music promoters, movie houses in Central Ohio, for a total of $41,448,960.58 awarded.

The Gateway Film Center was one of the recipients in Central Ohio.

“It allows us to program the venue with confidence while our traditional revenues recover in the post-pandemic environment,” says Chris Hamel, President of the Gateway Film Center.

The funding brought a sense of relief to Glass Axis.

‘It gives us a cushion if Glass Axis is forced to close to the public in the future again,” says Melody Lynn Reed, Executive Director of Glass Axis. “We know our closure during spring 2020 was felt hardest by our member artists who use our facility to make their living and we want to do everything in our power to make sure they always have a place to work.”

Studio 35 will be using their funding to provide employment security for their team.

“These funds will enable the theater to continue to be a contributing member fo the community for many years,” says Eric Brembeck, owner.

For Shadowbox Live, the grant dollars are helpful, although they have a longer road to recovery ahead.

“Although SVOG won’t make us whole, it certainly will help financially as we slowly climb back to a more consistent performance schedule and add personnel to our artistic/administrative staff,” said Stacie Boord, CEO and Metaperformer of Shadowbox Live.

Overall the program reached over 10,000 venues across the nation.

CAPA and the Jerome Schottenstein Center received the largest grants in Central Ohio. CAPA President and CEO Chad Whittington was grateful and excited to be included in the program.

“As caretakers of Columbus’ historic and beloved downtown theatres, these funds will go a long way toward replacing the funds expended for upkeep and maintenance expenses of the buildings while our industry was shut down and creating a buffer against ongoing uncertainty as we slowly return to full operating levels,” stated Whittington. 

The SBA had to make changes to process the number of applications they received.

“After making improvements to the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program, the SBA is now delivering money quickly, efficiently and fairly to highly-impacted small businesses and venue operators,” SBA Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman said in a statement.

She continued that the SBA will be working around the clock to provide the relief that is needed to revitalize local economies and build back from the pandemic and economic crisis. She also noted that more than two thirds of the awards have gone to venues with fewer than 10 employees.

Applicants are able to use the funding to cover costs such as payroll, rent, utilities, business expenses, administrative expenses, insurance, taxes, and more.

What to do if your Shuttered Venue Operations Grant application was declined or you received less than you anticipated

If an organization applied and received less than they had applied for, or were turned down, they are able to request an award amount reconsideration or appeal a declined application. The notifications for the appeal and award amount reconsideration opportunities are expected to begin August 2 and August 4 respectively and will remain open for two weeks. Following then and per funds remaining available, on August 23, the SBA will open the program for supplemental SVOGs for 50% of the original award amount for grantees and cap at a total SVOG award (initial and supplemental) of $10 million.

Update August 11, 2021: The SBA announced that new Shuttered Venue Operators Grant applications will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time on Friday, August 20, 2021. Then, later in August, SBA will open the program for supplemental SVOGs for 50% of the original award amount, capped at a total of $10 million (initial and supplemental combined). Details will be announced at a later date.

More information can be found at the Frequently Asked Questions page at www.sba.gov.