WILMINGTON — Delaware congressional lawmakers announced Tuesday that more than $30 million from the Shuttered Venue Operator Grant program will go to entertainment venues in the state.
“One of the pandemic’s hardest-hit sectors was the live arts and entertainment industry,” said Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del. “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.”
SVOG is a product of the Save Our Stages Act, legislation sponsored by Sen. Carper and created by the December 2020 appropriations and COVID-19 relief package, which allocated $15 billion to the program. The SVOG program then received another $1.25 billion under the American Rescue Plan Act in March 2021, bringing total funding to $16.25 billion.
On Tuesday, The Queen, a live music venue in Wilmington, received a $1.3 million grant.
“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,” said Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Del. “But because of these federal dollars, the stages we all know and love, from a small movie theater in Dagsboro to a concert hall in Arden, have been able to reopen and operate safely, so that Delawareans can once again experience the arts safely.”
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% of their gross earned revenue, up to a maximum of $10 million.
Movie theaters had some of the biggest losses in Delaware and thus received the biggest grants. As of Nov. 15, Westown Movies in Middletown had received an initial $2,259,945 grant and a supplemental $1,145,373 (supplemental funding is given to awardees who suffered a 70% or greater revenue loss for the most recent calendar quarter).
Atlantic Theatres/The Movies at Midway in Rehoboth Beach received nearly $2 million in initial monies and just over $1 million in supplemental funding. Main Street Movies 5 in Newark also received an initial $1,131,272 and a supplemental $582,687, while Penn Cinema in Wilmington was given an initial $2,307,023 and a supplemental $1,153,512.
The Delaware State Fair in Harrington, the Bottle Taproom in Dewey Beach, the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation, The Grand in Wilmington and the Buccini/Pollin Group in Wilmington all received between $1 million and $3 million each.
“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,” said Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del. “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.”