News & Thought Leadership from Sulloway & Hollis

January 12, 2021

New Relief Option: Grants for Performance Arts Venue Operators

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 was signed into law at the end of 2020. This Act included authorization for a new form of relief for a business industry largely impacted by the COVID-19-related gathering restrictions: the performance arts. The new grants offer relief to performing arts venue operators that have been effectively “shuttered” over the course of the COVID-19 national emergency and are referred to as Shuttered Venue Operator Grants.

Which performance arts operators are included?

These grants are available for the following classes of individuals, as defined in the Act:

  • Live venue operators or promoters;
  • Theatrical producers;
  • Live performing arts organization operators;
  • Relevant museum operators;
  • Motion picture theatre operators; or
  • Certain talent representatives.

What are the grant requirements?

In order to receive a grant, the above individuals must also meet the following requirements:

  • Must have been fully operational on February 29, 2020 and have had a 25% or more reduction in gross earned revenue in at least one quarter in 2020, compared to the same 2019 quarter.
  • As of the date of the grant, the recipient:
    • Is or intends to resume activities; or
    • If a talent representative is currently representing or managing artists or entertainers
  • The venues must meet particularized requirements, including:
    • Presence of a defined performance and audience space;
    • A public address system, mixing equipment, and a lighting rig;
    • An employed individual who performs at least two of the following roles: sound engineer, booker, promoter, stage manager, security personnel, or box office manager; and
    • Requiring a ticket and/or cover charge to attend most performance and artists are fairly paid

Each of the individual classes of operators has its own specific venue requirements.

What is the maximum grant amount?

No grant can exceed $10 million, but the maximum amount is dependent on when the business began its operations:

Businesses in operation on January 1, 2019: 45% of gross earned revenue during 2019

Businesses established after: (average monthly gross earned revenue for each full month of operation in 2019) x 6.0

When can I apply for the grant?

A prioritization schedule is being used for grant applications:

  1. First two weeks: Businesses with 10% or less of revenue from 2019;
  2. Second two weeks: Businesses with 30% or less revenue from 2019; and
  3. Any eligible recipients.

What impact does the receipt of a grant have?

Importantly, once you receive a Shuttered Venue Operator Grant, you are no longer eligible for PPP Loans. Therefore, if you have already received a PPP Loan, you may not apply for a second draw PPP Loan.

If you have any questions regarding the Shuttered Venue Operators grants or your business’s relief options, the attorneys at Sulloway & Hollis are here to assist. Our Business Practice Group provides comprehensive counseling and legal services to employers across New England.

For more information on the Hard Hit Act see our other articles on