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Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Coronavirus: Casting a net around the Internet, part 16


Checking on the area arts scene

Association logo.

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – Like so many things, Northeastern Wisconsin’s performing arts scene is caught in uncertainty because of the coronavirus COVID-19.

Developments often are wait-and-see.

Casting a net around the Internet, here are items of note among recent developments:

– In Menominee, Michigan, River Cities Concert Association informed patrons that its fall concerts are canceled.

“We have been informed by Allied Concert Services that there will not be any performances by artists this fall – 2020. Please check the website in January, 2021, when we will announce a mini three-concert series for the spring,” the association reports.

Among performances affected this year have been the group Ball in the House and the show Popovich Comedy Pet Theater.

The association, according to its website, “is a non-profit organization of music lovers who buy yearly memberships to fund a season of concerts of the highest quality family entertainment. We contract with Allied Concert Services in Plymouth, Minnesota, whose representative joins us at an annual fall meeting to plan the following year’s series. Our membership drive begins each spring to enlist season ticket subscribers.

Performances are held in Blesch Auditorium of Blesch Intermediate School.

River Cities Concert Association has a reciprocal agreement with Brown County Civic Music Association to admit each other’s members to performances free of charge.

– In Appleton, Fox Cities Performing Arts Center updated patrons on two bills in Congress that impact the live performing arts. S. 4258, the Save Our Stages Act, and S. 3814/H.R. 7481, the RESTART Act.

According to the message: “The live event industry is experiencing upwards of 90 percent revenue loss and will be closed well into 2021 due to safety concerns posed by large gatherings. Without support from Congress, 90 percent of National Independent Venue Association’s independent venues across America say they will be forced to close their doors forever.”

Maria Van Laanen, center president, said, “(W)e proudly stand in solidarity with venues around the country in asking for assistance as we endure this extended intermission.” 

Also in the message: “According to the Americans for the Arts most recent study in 2016, the nonprofit arts industry contributed $58.4 million in economic activity in the greater Fox Cities Region alone, including supporting 1,613 full-time equivalent jobs and $5.5 million in local and state government revenue. It is critical to continue to support these organizations to ensure they can continue to contribute to the economy for years to come.”

– In Fish Creek, Northern Sky Theater reported it has received a matching grant of $11,000 from the Wisconsin Arts Board to support its ongoing commitment to writing and developing new musicals. Additionally, it received an $8,000 for Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES Act) Grant as a form of emergency support due to the pandemic.

In April, the arts board created an emergency relief program for Wisconsin nonprofit arts organizations that canceled exhibitions, performances, educational outreach and fundraising events. The organizations are expecting a decline in contributions from corporations, foundations and individual donors.

Dave Maier, managing director, said, “The additional grant in 2020 will help us weather a season without any revenue generated through ticket sales as we begin to assess what recovery might look like in 2021.”

– In Green Bay, Anne Katz, executive director of the information resource Arts Wisconsin, reported on the start of a $5 million COVID-19 Cultural Organization Grant Program to assist Wisconsin cultural organizations that have been economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

According to the message: Administered by the Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA), the program provides eligible organizations grant awards of up to $250,000 to cover pandemic-related impacts such as lost revenue, increased workers compensation costs, cleaning and sanitization and purchases of services or equipment to facilitate telework by employees. This effort is funded through federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act dollars.

Eligible organizations must have a primary mission to produce, present or exhibit cultural disciplines such as music, dance, theater, literature and the visual arts, or items of environmental or scientific interest. Program details, eligibility standards, grant application, and program contact information are available on the DOA website.

Grant applications are due Sept. 30.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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