Amarillo cultural venues’ quest for federal aid halted by technical issues

Amarillo cultural venues’ quest for federal aid halted by technical issues
The Small Business Administration opened the application process April 8 to the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (Source: SBA)

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - In the blink of an eye, the Texas Outdoor Musical went from more than 68 performances a year to zero.

“All of the actors and everything else, and dancers that we hire we couldn’t hire,” said Buster Ratliff, interim associate of Texas Outdoor Musical. “The staff that was here had to be laid off so, everything just sat.”

Last week, the musical joined thousands seeking federal aid for their businesses, but glitches kept their applications from going through.

“I though it was just me for a little bit,” said Ratliff.

The online application portal for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program or SVOG closed hours after opening due to technical issues.

The grant, provides up to $10 million to qualifying venues, promoters and theater owners’ who closed due to the pandemic.

“First priority will be for the first 14 days of the grant award and it will be looked at for entities that have suffered a 90 percent or greater from April 2020 to December 2020, due to the COVID–19 pandemic,” said Emma Carrasco, consultant at Texas Tech University, Northwest Texas SBDC.

List of priorities that SBA will consider on grant applications received throughout the U.S.
List of priorities that SBA will consider on grant applications received throughout the U.S. (Source: KFDA)

The Musical lost about $1.2 million in budgetary revenue last year, and getting the grant would allow them to hire people back and get repairs done.

“This means everything to be honest,” said Ratliff. “This can get back a lot of what we’ve lost and a lot of repairs; Its jobs!”

Those who applied for a Paycheck Protection Program or PPP loan can still apply for the SVOG.

However, the amount received through PPP loans will be deducted.

“It’s important that before they even start this process and completing all the paperwork is to ensure to have a DUNS number and also be registered in the SAM registry,” said Carrasco.

Eligible applicants may qualify for grants equal to 45 percent of their gross earned revenue, with the maximum amount available for a single grant award of $10 million.

$2 billion is reserved for eligible applications with up to 50 full-time employees.

The musical and other arts organization are just waiting and hopeful that they will be able to bounce back.

“Attendance is starting to uptick, we have an amazing exhibition starting this summer called, dinosaurs discovery that’s from the museum of natural history so I think that with the come back of the play, I just think you’re going to see the arts make a really strong come back,” said Ratliff.

The agency didn’t say when applications will reopen, but it is expected to do so this week.

If you have any questions, reach out to your local small business development center.

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