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With federal COVID-19 funding, the curtain is rising at Michigan entertainment venues

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

Officials in Michigan are encouraging entertainment venues to take advantage of a special federal relief program to help them through the pandemic.

The U.S. Small Business Administration has distributed nearly 10,000 grants, worth more than $7.6 billion, through the Shuttered Venues Operators Grant program.    

Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint) says the program is intended to help arts groups that provide an important service to their local community.

“We can have grants of a few thousand dollars for those venues that are still essential, that could fail, but that won’t because we have this program in place,” Kildee said during a news conference to promote the program.

The news conference took place at Saginaw’s Temple Theater, which has received nearly $300,000 in federal COVID-19 relief funding.

Veronica Horn is the President/CEO of the Saginaw Chamber of Commerce. She says it’s vitally important for places like Saginaw that arts groups and venues survive the pandemic.

“Business and people make the community, but arts and the venues are the soul of the community,” says Horn.

There is still another $8 billion in federal COVID relief that entertainment venues can apply for.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.