On September 1, 2020, thousands of performing arts venues across the county will be illuminated in red light from 9pm to midnight to draw attention to the RED ALERT facing the performing arts industry. Theaters, concert halls, and performance venues were some of the first organizations to close their doors in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, and they are expected to be some of the last organizations to reopen. The loss of ticket sales and special events over the past six months has had a devastating impact on arts and culture throughout the country, and many organizations fear that they will be forced to close permanently without aid from the federal government.
A nationwide event will take place on Tuesday, September 1, 2020, from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. to call attention to the deep financial plight of the Live Event Industry. The event will see more than 5,000 buildings across North America lit in red – including 16 here in the Dayton region. The goal is to raise public awareness that the Live Events Industry is on Red Alert for its very survival and create congressional pressure to act now.
Participating venues and businesses include:
• BLC Entertainment
• Dayton Arcade
• Dayton Art Institute
• Dayton Contemporary Dance Company
• Dayton Live
Benjamin & Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center
Metropolitan Arts Center and The Loft Theatre
PNC Arts Annex
The Arts Garage
• Dayton Theatre Guild
• Hobart Arena
• The Human Race Theatre Company
• Levitt Pavilion Dayton
• The Light Fantastic Inc.
• The Grande Hall at Liberty Tower
• Dayton Masonic Center
• Monika’s Sound System Rentals Inc.
• The Rose Music Center At The Heights
• Scenic Solutions LLC
• University of Dayton Arena
• Wright State Nutter Center
• Wright State University Creative Arts Center
Individuals are urged to contact their senators and representatives, asking that they support the Save Our Stages and RESTART Act, and extend Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).
“SaveOurStages.com and ExtendPUA.org both have easy to use online forms to make your voice heard,” said Steve Williams, member of IATSE Local 66 and lighting director for the Benjamin & Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center. “If we’re doing our job right, you don’t see us,” Williams continued. “But right now we need you to see us. #WeMakeEvents, #RedAlertRESTART, and #ExtendPUA represent a major call to action, imploring the U.S. Congress to pass the RESTART Act (S.3814) as quickly as possible, offering economic relief to the Live Events Industry which has been shuttered since March 2020.”
It is estimated that 96%, or as many as 12 million people, in the Live Events Industry are currently unemployed, furloughed, or have lost up to 90% of their income. Once a robust $35 billion industry, the Live Events business was the first to close and will be the last to re-open, forever changing the lives of those involved.
“These 12 million people who work in the live events industry need support from federal and state governments as soon as possible, or we risk doing permanent damage to an industry that has an huge economic impact,” said Ty Sutton, President & CEO of Dayton Live, which owns and operates downtown Dayton’s premier performance venues. “The Red Alert RESTART Night on September 1 aims to be a visual catalyst. We must act now and urge our senators and representatives to include policies that extend a lifeline to the live events industry and its workers.”
Additionally, the movement supports ExtendPUA.org in their efforts towards continuation and extension of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Act to provide relief to those without work due to COVID-19. Dayton Live, a not-for-profit, laid off or furloughed 85% of its staff in May. Other venue operators have done the same across the Miami Valley and across the country.
“When you’re out of work, sometimes you can apply your skills with another company or even in another industry,“ Williams elaborated. “When you work in the arts and events industry, especially as a stagehand, that’s really difficult to do – because everywhere you’d go for work is closed too. That’s why extending Pandemic Unemployment Assistance is so needed. Nearly 47% of the folks out of work right now in Ohio are from the arts and events industry. That’s about 300,000. More than the leisure and hospitality sector – or even restaurants and bars.”
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