$5.75 MILLION IN FEDERAL AID PLAYS ESSENTIAL ROLE IN A STRONG RECOVERY AND BRIGHT FUTURE FOR THE BUSHNELL
HARTFORD, CT | June 29, 2021 — The Bushnell has been awarded a much-needed $5.75 million through the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program. This grant will enable The Bushnell to reopen strong; prepared to return to its role as an economic driver for Downtown Hartford, gathering place for community, and employer of hundreds of artists, stagehands, educators, and administrators.
On March 13, 2020, COVID-19 indefinitely dimmed the lights of The Bushnell and other performing arts organizations across Connecticut. This immediate and complete shutdown resulted in significant layoffs, lost revenue, and diminished community vitality. The financial impact of the pandemic has been devastating. More than 90% of all staff were furloughed and show-related revenues evaporated.
Thanks to two Paycheck Protection Program loans and the generosity of The Bushnell’s individual, foundation, and corporate donors, the organization has sustained limited operations over this unprecedented closure. That federal, state and private support was essential to The Bushnell’s ability to continue operations. Donors played a critical role as they maintained their generosity and connection to the organization despite the absence of performances on The Bushnell’s stages.
Elizabeth Casasnovas, Chief Development Officer, elaborates on that point saying, “Our supporters are the lifeblood of The Bushnell. Their continued commitment ensures that The Bushnell is here and ready to reopen now that the time is right.”
Established by the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act and amended by the American Rescue Plan Act, the SVOG includes over $16 billion in grants to shuttered venues, like The Bushnell, and is being administered by the Small Business Association’s Office of Disaster Assistance.
“The SVOG program goes a long way to heal the deepest wounds inflicted during what will ultimately be an 18-month closure. And, while this program alone doesn’t get us ‘all the way home’ in terms of our overall recovery, it is an excellent example of our federal government stepping up to say that the arts and arts organizations matter to our communities and to our citizens,” says David Fay, President and CEO of The Bushnell. “This once in a century event is unprecedented in our 92 years of operations. I am grateful to our federal legislators who believe in the value of Connecticut’s arts organizations and fought so hard to ensure that The Bushnell will remain a cultural cornerstone for our community for the next 100 years.”
The stage is set for The Bushnell’s reopening. While a small percentage of furloughed staff will have returned to The Bushnell as of July 1, many on a reduced payroll schedule, 100% of staff will return, at full payroll, as of Tuesday, September 7. Additionally, private events at The Bushnell will continue throughout the summer with an official reopening for public performances on September 11 with the Middlesex Hospital Vocal Chords 20th Anniversary Tribute to September 11, 2001. The Hartford Symphony Orchestra will return to the Belding Theater on October 1 with their first Masterworks Series concert and Broadway will be back at The Bushnell beginning October 12 with Escape to Margaritaville. For more information regarding schedules, tickets, and upcoming events, visit Bushnell.org.
About The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts
For more than 90 years, The Bushnell has been central to life in Greater Hartford serving as its unique gathering place for arts, education, and community activities. As a dynamic 21st Century performing arts center, The Bushnell presents, creates, inspires and shares the best in the performing arts; and in partnership with others, serves as a catalyst to advance education, promote economic development and build a sense of community in Central Connecticut. Today, The Bushnell, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, is the State’s largest arts organization and has been deemed a “Connecticut Cultural Treasure.” Learn more at bushnell.org.
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