Denver Arts & Venues Announces $1 Million in Aid for Struggling Venues and Artists

Oriental Theatre
The Oriental Theatre at the golden hour. Photography By Kyle Cooper

Denver Arts & Venues set aside a sizable sum of emergency relief funding for both venues and artists suffering financially as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Funded through the CARES Act, Denver Arts & Venues set aside $700,000 total in aid for independent music venues and $300,000 total in aid for independent artists for a total of $1 million in aid for Denver’s music economy. Despite furloughs and venue closures for the agency, Denver Arts & Venues still intends to honor their commitment to the local ailing entertainment industry as they open up applications for aid.  

According to the 2020 Creative Economy Report, Denver’s creative industries lost an estimated 29,840 jobs and $1.4 billion in sales revenue between April and July 2020 due to the pandemic. Looking at Denver’s music sector specifically, an estimated 4,525 jobs and $213.7 million in sales revenue were lost. 

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Photo by Kacie Loura

Independent music and performing arts venues located in Denver whose operations and income have been directly affected by the pandemic are encouraged to apply. Priority will be given to operators of for-profit and not-for-profit venues experiencing severe financial distress and who have no other source of income, or are facing significantly diminished income and/or increased expenses as a direct result of the COVID-19 crisis. Operators of venues owned by or supporting historically marginalized communities —including Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), LGBTQ+ and people with disabilities —who remain financially vulnerable in light of the COVID-19 crisis are given priority as well. For all venue operators, the maximum amount one is eligible for is $25,000.  

Likewise, artists who are experiencing severe financial distress and who have no other source of income, or are facing significantly diminished income or increased expenses as a direct result of the COVID-19 crisis are encouraged to apply as well. Priority will be given to artists who are part of historically marginalized communities who remain financially vulnerable to the impacts of the crisis. Independent artists are eligible to receive a one-time award of $1,000. 

The aid comes on the heels of Denver Arts & Venues previously announced and awarded $75K in grants for the Denver Music Advancement Fund — a fund intended to support individual and organizations who advocate for Denver’s music community.

Applications will be accepted from October 5, 12 p.m. – October 25, 11:59 p.m. For more information on funding available to venue operators, click here. For more information on funding available to independent artists, click here.

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