Applying For Save Our Stages Money, Keep Close Watch On The Site

I am hoping that all of you who work at a performing arts venue in the United States are like me and have been getting seven or eight emails a week making you aware of a webinar on the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program aka Save Our Stages funding.

While it is difficult to know exactly all the information you will need to assemble, you definitely want to make sure your organization is registered with SAM.gov. Any grant from the federal government, regardless of which department’s website/system you apply through will require this registration and it can take up to two weeks to get verified. Since the application windows are only two weeks long, based on the amount of your losses, you don’t want to be waiting for your registration to clear.

You will need to know your DUNS number as part of the registration on SAM.gov so applying for/researching it could be another step in the process.

While the date when the application window opens hasn’t been set (as of this writing), information on the Small Business Administration site is constantly being updated so you almost have to make checking the program page a daily ritual.

For instance, the FAQ update for the SVOG program which came out February 5 had some significant updates from the FAQ that went out nine days earlier on January 27.

In January, the information for Museums was:

Museum Operator
1. Is a museum partially funded with state dollars eligible to apply?
Yes. While there are specific eligibility rules for entities owned by state or local governments, the receipt of funding from a state government does not affect its eligibility.
2. Is a museum that received CARES Act funding eligible to apply?
Yes. Per the Economic Aid Act, receipt of CARES Act funding does not disqualify an entity for SVOGs.

In the February 5 version it reads:

Museum or Movie Theatre Operator
1. Is a museum or movie theatre with a multipurpose room with movable seating eligible to apply?
No. The Economic Aid Act specifically requires fixed seating for qualifying amphitheaters of museums and motion picture theatre operators and makes no allowance for temporary, removable, modular, convertible, or other non-fixed seating arrangements. As such, museums and motion picture theatre operators cannot satisfy this requirement with other forms of seating. NOTE: There is no fixed seating requirement for other types of eligible entities.
2. Is a museum or movie theatre with outdoor fixed seating eligible to apply?
Yes. The Economic Aid Act does not require qualifying venues to be indoors. If the venue meets the applicable eligibility requirements, it should be eligible to apply for an SVOG.
3. Is a museum partially funded with state dollars eligible to apply?
Yes. While there are specific eligibility rules for entities owned by state or local governments, the receipt of funding from a state government does not affect its eligibility.
4. Is a museum that received CARES Act funding eligible to apply?
Yes. Per the Economic Aid Act, receipt of CARES Act funding does not disqualify an entity for SVOGs.
5. Is a drive-in movie theatre without fixed seating eligible to apply?
No. Per the Economic Aid Act, a motion picture theatre operator must have at least one auditorium with a motion picture screen and fixed audience seating, so a drive-in movie theatre is not eligible to apply for an SVOG.”

Number 5 was an individual answer in the January version and got wrapped in with museums, but the other additions are new content. If you are thinking about applying for this program, keep an eye on the website so you can be as prepared as possible in advance of the application period.

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker (artshacker.com) website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (http://www.creatingconnection.org/about/)

I am currently the Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.

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