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Federal delegation touts $30M+ in Delaware live venue grants

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(L-R) U.S. Sens. Chris Coons and Tom Carper, Delaware DBA District Director John Fleming, U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester and Queen owner Chris Buccini pose for a photo following Tuesday’s press conference. | PHOTO COURTESY OF CARPER’S OFFICE

WILMINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Tom Carper, Chris Coons and Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.) joined representatives from the historic Queen theater in Wilmington to celebrate the success story from the Shuttered Venue Operator Grant (SVOG) program. In all, Delaware venues will receive a total of just more than $30 million.

SVOG was a provision born out of the Save Our Stages Act, legislation supported by Delaware’s congressional delegation. The SVOG program provides grants to eligible organizations that have suffered revenue loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Business types eligible for SVOGs include live venue operators, promoters, arts organizations, talent representatives, motion picture theater operators, museums, and theatrical producers. Successful applicants can receive grants equal to 45 percent of their gross earned revenue, up to a maximum of $10 million. Today the delegation celebrated The Queen receiving $1.3 million from the business-saving program.

“One of the pandemic’s hardest hit sectors was the live arts and entertainment industry,” Carper said in a statement. “I was proud to support the Save our Stages Act which helped make this program possible. I am thrilled that these theaters can light up once again through this business-saving program, and provide arts and culture for years to come.”

“Our theaters, museums, and other cultural institutions are central to the identity of communities throughout our state and country, and the pandemic threatened their very existence,” Coons said in a statement. “The Shuttered Venue Operator Grant, made possible thanks to federal legislation, has so far awarded billions in grants to thousands of eligible businesses, furnishing a much-needed lifeline to some of our hardest-hit performance venues and the folks whose livelihoods depend on them. I’m glad to support the SVOG program, I know some venues are still working through the process, and I look forward to the ongoing re-opening of cultural institutions in Delaware and throughout the United States.”

“Arts venues across Delaware faced unimaginable challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Blunt Rochester said in a statement. “While other industries were able to adapt to the pandemic, the Arts completely shut down leading to massive layoffs and lost revenue for these spaces. But because of these federal dollars, the stages we all know and love, from a small movie theatre in Dagsboro to a concert hall in Arden, have been able to re-open and operate safely so that Delawareans can once again experience the arts safely. I’m proud to support our stages and I look forward to the impact these funds will have on our community and economy.” 

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