Stage Relief Grant Program to offer arts venues grants of up to $300K

In an effort to assist the for-profit community arts centers in the state that were hit particularly hard by the pandemic, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority announced this week the creation of the New Jersey Community Stage Relief Grant Program — a program that will give grants of up to $300,000 to qualifying venues.

The $17.5 million fund will give grants equal to 30% of a qualified establishment’s decline in operating revenue from 2019 to 2020.

EDA officials said they anticipate being able to accept applications for the program in August. Applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Click here for more information.

The program is only open to for-profit establishments with arts-focused NAICS Codes or businesses that make 50% or more of their operating revenue from the organization, hosting, promotion, production or management of live music or performances.

Establishments that meet one of the baseline eligibility criteria must also be able to demonstrate that they:

  • Have a venue capacity of 2,500 or less;
  • Host at least two live performances per week;
  • Collect admission fees or sell tickets for events;
  • Pay artists for performing at their events; and
  • Experienced a 25% or greater operating loss between Q2 2019 and Q2 2020.

This is in addition to $7.5 million in grant funding for nonprofit arts venues awarded by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

EDA CEO Tim Sullivan, clearly a student of the state’s rich history of acts, said the grants are a key to the state’s performing arts future.

“From Count Basie and Springsteen to Sinatra and Queen Latifah, New Jersey has a long and rich history of supporting performing artists and the venues where they connect with their fans,” he said. “The COVID-19 pandemic hit performing arts businesses particularly hard, and, now that we are able to begin safely reopening, it is critical that we help them get back on their feet.

“The New Jersey Community Stage Relief Grant Program, along with the New Jersey Council on the Arts program for nonprofit establishments, will provide much-needed funding to help performing arts venues recover from the impact of COVID-19 and get back to hosting the shows that help make New Jersey such a vibrant, exciting place to live.”