Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Federal grants help keep local stages lit

The Queen in Wilmington
Rebecca Baer
Delaware Public Media

Sen. Tom Carper declared it was “the day the music did not die,” as he and other federal lawmakers announced a new round of grants for arts and entertainment venues.

Dozens of Delaware venues and arts organizations will receive a total of $30 million from the Shuttered Venue Operator Grant program. The federal program provides money to arts businesses and organizations that lost revenue due to the pandemic.

Earlier this week, the Delaware Congressional Delegation met at the Queen in Wilmington, where Carper said support for the arts benefits the whole state.

Queen Congressional
Rebecca Baer
Delaware's Congressional Delegation joins SBA Administrator John Fleming and Queen theater developer Chris Buccini to celebrate federal funding for arts organizations.

“People come here for all kinds of stuff and what I want them to do is to think about another good reason to come here and frankly, to live here, and that’s the access to the arts,” he said.

Movie theaters and museums will also get some of the funding.

Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester said arts venues felt the brunt of the pandemic, pointing out that, unlike other businesses, they couldn’t adapt by working from home or offering takeout.

“I think about the impact on jobs, but I also think about the impact on the patrons as well,” she said. “Even our common humanity through theater, through dance, through music, through human connection is really touched by this pandemic.”

Under the program, organizations can receive grants equal to 45 percent of their gross revenue, up to a maximum of $10 million.

The Queen is receiving $1.3 million. Theater representatives say the money will help keep the lights on at the venue which employs 60 people.

“Organizations like the Grand, Penn Cinema, and many others are indicative of a community soul, they’re signs of urban vitality and they are at the heart of a region’s economic development,” said Queen Developer Chris Buccini, who added that the Queen has a “halo effect,” driving customers to other nearby businesses and restaurants along the Market Street corridor.