SBA Webinar on Save Our Stages Grant Opportunity

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.

Update 4/23/21: The U.S. Small Business Administration will reopen the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant application portal tomorrow, April 24, 2021, at 12:30 p.m. EDT for operators of live venues, live performing arts organizations, museums and movie theatres, as well as live venue promoters, theatrical producers and talent representatives to apply for critical economic relief.

Update: the recording has been added to this article.
The Save Our Stages grants are here. Arts venues, live music halls, concert venues, and others in the arts were hit especially hard during the COVID-19 pandemic. These groups were left out of the first round of Federal grant dollars. After much lobbying, these organizations were successful in getting the ‘Save Our Stages’ included in the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act that was signed into law by President Trump on Dec. 27, 2020.

The Save Our Stages Act was introduced into Congress in July of 2020. At the time, CAPA President and CEO Chad Whittington shared that many arts organizations were in a dire financial situation. Governor DeWine’s closure orders and then later orders with significant limitations on opening sent many groups into financial distress as events had to be cancelled and plans reworked.

“There is no immediate fix for live arts and entertainment,” said Whittington. “We need a financial lifeline to ensure we will again have a thriving arts community in central Ohio once COVID-19 is under control.”

Angela Meleca, executive director for Ohio Citizens for the Arts, has been one of the key voices raising the issue of saving the arts in Ohio.

In an article with Ohio Capital Journal in September 2020, Meleca shared that “No business can be expected to survive after being closed for six months, and then work on such a limited capacity.”

The U.S. Small Business Administration will be holding an informational webinar on Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 3pm to provide a preliminary overview of the act. View the recording of that webinar:

As a whole, the act allocates $15 billion for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grants. Eligible organizations with a reduction in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic will have the opportunity to receive up to a $10 million grant under the program.

Tune in to the webinar to find out: introductory information about the grants, who can apply, how potential organizations can prepare, and other detail re: eligibility and applications.

Who will want to apply for the Save Our Stages Grant?

These are some of the organizations that can apply for the Save Our Stages Grant:
Live performance venues, performing arts organizations and producers who make at least 70% of their earned revenue from tickets or admission charges for live events, concessions or merchandise at those events, and/or nonprofit educational activities
Talent Representatives
Movies theaters

Only those operating before February 29, 2020 and can show gross earned revenue in any calendar quarter of 2020 that was 25% less than the same calendar quarter of 2019. You also must be operating or intending to operate in the future, on the date your grant is issued.

Register for Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Webinar. For more information on this program, visit or email [email protected] with questions (please include topic in the subject line).