Feds save $200 million for San Diego arts – NBC 7 San Diego

Nearly $200 million in federal grants have been pumped into the coffers of local independent arts organizations, which has gone a long way in saving the cultural heritage of San Diego County, perhaps the hardest hit area in the world. economy during the nearly two-year pandemic.

Most affected organizations closed with the March 2020 lockdown and then were forced to get creative during the pandemic, selling merchandise or cocktails to take away, but none of that meant much to people. struggling businesses and nonprofits, whose creativity and perseverance kept them going until they could reopen last year on California’s Color Calendar.

Shuttered Venue Operators grants were distributed in 2021 locally to 166 nightclub operators, promoters, talent reps, museums and theaters both theatrical and film, for a total of just over $199 million. That figure climbs to more than $2 billion statewide, according to the National Independent Venue Association.

“These dollars not only support independent venues, promoters and festivals, but also support the entire region by helping to generate revenue for hospitality, lodging, transportation and many other employment sectors,” said said Joe Rinaldi, general manager of Music Box San Diego, which won a $1.5 million grant, is quoted in a press release sent this week by Rep. Scott Peter’s office.

Based on federal data, it appears the grants began rolling out in June of last year, with some — Winston in OB, for example ($771,471) — getting theirs until mid-December.

Many of the biggest recipients of federal largesse are iconic, at least locally: The San Diego Zoological Society and the USS Midway Museum both received the maximum grants of $10 million, but so did the Sound Talent Group, which listed a airport hangar in El Cajon. as his address.

The company, which according to its website was founded in 2018, is “among the world’s leading live music agencies”, but few artists are on its list – which is certainly long and includes the guitarist of Jane’s Addiction and former Red Hot Chili Pepper Dave Navarro, Guns n’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan, Run-DMC, locals Pierce the Veil and Mexican stars Panteon Rococo, among others, are household names.

Rounding out the Top 5 Grant Recipients in San Diego is the Old Globe Theater — no surprise there, with an $8 million prize money and one dollar — and one that’s a surprise: Belly Up Tavern of Solana Beach, which got $8,085,115. Now, if you’re wondering, that number does NOT include sister club Belly Up in Aspen, Colorado, which independently received a $5.3 million grant.

Grants were the difference between surviving the pandemic and shutting down, for many locals, including the Belly Up.

“Life or death,” said Chris Goldsmith, president of Belly Up Entertainment. “Just amazing and, you know, we’ve been hit hard. You know, no one can say, ‘Well, you should have run your business better or whatever.’ There’s no … we were just decimated, so that was absolutely important.

The Belly Up ended up being one of the biggest local beneficiaries, Goldsmith said, because “expenses are proportional to your income, and that’s why there are variations” between venues.

“So if you have huge income, you’ll get a huge amount to offset it, because your overhead is also big,” Goldsmith said.

And here’s the result: An almost full show schedule in January at Belly Up.

Other music venues on the list:

Other notable San Diego locations that have been recipients:

  • Birch Tree Aquarium: $4,128,116
  • California Center for the Arts, Escondido: $3,666,911
  • Reuben H. Fleet Science Center: $3,627,345
  • 22nd District Agricultural Association (Del Mar Fairgrounds): $2,276,895
  • Natural History Society of San Diego: $1,822,409
  • San Diego Maritime Museum Association: $1,700,208
  • San Diego Opera Association: $1,648,333
  • Pride of San Diego: $813,184

Here is a complete list of local recipients:

Recipients were authorized to use the grants to pay for the following:

  • Pay
  • To rent
  • Utilities
  • Scheduled mortgage payments (excluding prepayment of principal)
  • Scheduled debt payments (excluding prepayment of principal on any debt incurred in the ordinary course of business before February 15, 2020)
  • Worker protection expenditure
  • Payments to independent contractors (not to exceed $100,000 in annual compensation for an individual employee of an independent contractor)
  • Other ordinary and necessary business expenses, including maintenance costs
  • Administrative costs (including fees and licenses)
  • National and local taxes and fees
  • Operating leases in effect as of February 15, 2020
  • Insurance payments
  • Advertising, production transportation, and capital expenditures related to the production of a theater or performing arts production (may not be the primary use of funds)

Organizations receiving the grants could not use the money to buy real estate; make payments on loans taken out after February 15, 2020; make investments or loans; make contributions or other payments to or on behalf of political parties, political committees or election candidates; or any other use.

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