SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – In December, Congress passed the Save Our Stages Act which set aside over $10 billion for small independent theater and music venues.
However, most that have applied for the relief say they haven’t gotten any of the money, and that includes those in Syracuse.
The Westcott Theater, 443 Social Club, and Redhouse Arts Center all applied for the relief money in April, but haven’t seen a cent of it yet.
“We’ve had no revenue in over a year,” Redhouse Arts Center executive director Samara Hannah said. “That’s why these stimulus packages are so essential for us.”
While restaurants and bars were able to do delivery and to-go orders, the in-person nature of going to see a show made it impossible for venues to be profitable. Owner of the 443 Social Club Julie Leone said they couldn’t even break even doing socially distanced shows in the fall.
“We are scheduled to reopen on July 22, but when I picked that date I assumed we would have the grant in our hands by then,” Leone said. “Now I’m not so sure, and we’re faced with potentially trying to reopen with no money.”
Unlike the Westcott Theater and the Redhouse Arts Center, Leone’s 443 Social Club did receive notice that they would be getting relief money. Leone said she was approved 11 days ago by the Small Business Administration, but still hasn’t actually gotten the money.
Hannah said that the situation has been dire since the fall, and without the stimulus she isn’t sure how much longer venues will be able to sustain themselves. She said Redhouse is thankful for their donors for keeping them going.
“Clearly organizations are hanging on by the skin of their teeth, and we’re hanging on by just a tad more than that.”