Local arts venues receive pandemic recovery funds

BRATTLEBORO — Several Windham County arts venues are sharing in more than $18 million in federal aid to ease the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

They received funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration's Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG), a program created by legislation authored by U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., with full support from U.S. Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in their respective roles as chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee and chair of the Senate Budget Committee.

In all, 59 venues across Vermont have received or will receive more than $1.7 million in SVOG funding, available to eligible live-music venues, movie theaters, and performing arts organizations that were shuttered by the pandemic.

Welch introduced the Save Our Stages (SOS) Act, a bill to provide financial support to keep independent live-performance venues afloat through the coronavirus pandemic, in July 2020.

It was signed into law in December 2020 after gathering significant bipartisan support in the House and Senate.

As chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Leahy was instrumental in getting this legislation signed into law and funds appropriated for the program.

The program provides support to hard-hit businesses in the music and entertainment sector that were forced to shut their doors due to pandemic restrictions.

Recipients in southeastern Vermont included:

• The Town of Rockingham, $144,007 for the Bellows Falls Opera House.

• Epsilon Spires in Brattleboro, $21,810.

• The Stone Church in Brattleboro, $139,130.

• Nimble Arts in Brattleboro, $52,458.

• New England Youth Theatre in Brattleboro, $84,724.

• Music Camps North LLC in Putney, $45,725.

• Next Stage Arts in Putney, $49,335.

• Sandglass Theater in Putney, $40,341.

• Yellow Barn in Putney, $35,558.

• Weston Playhouse Theatre, $175,529.

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