Eight major Austin arts and culture organizations identified as receiving PPP loans – Sightlines
Data released this week by the Small Business Administration (SBA) named the small businesses and nonprofits that received Payroll Protection Program (P3) loans as part of the 350 federal bailout. billion dollars to help small businesses retain staff in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
Eight major arts and culture organizations in Austin have been identified as receiving PPP loans: Austin Children’s Museum, Austin Film Society, Austin Opera, Ballet Austin, Contemporary Austin, The Long Center, Paramount Theater, and Zach Theater.
PPP data – which was released after weeks of demands for transparency from media and lawmakers – named 660,000 businesses and nonprofits that received at least $ 150,000. P3 recipients who received less than $ 150,000 were identified by postal code only.
The publicly identified arts and culture of Austin receiving PPP loans are:
- $ 1 million – $ 2 million
- $ 350,000 – $ 1 million
Austin Children’s Museum
Long Center (dba Greater Austin Performing Arts Center)
Paramount Theater / Stateside Theater (dba Austin Theater Alliance)
- $ 150,000 – $ 350,000
Austin Film Society
Austin Opera House
Art divisions of large public universities – such as the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas, the Harry Ransom Center, and the Texas Performing Arts – were not eligible to receive PPP loans intended for private companies and organizations for purpose. non-profit.
Only the Zach Theater received a PPP loan of over $ 1 million. And although in March it put 75% of staff, or around 200, on leave, a representative said the theater has no plans to bring back staff anytime soon.
“(Zach Theater doesn’t want) to be put in the situation that many others have to lay off employees again weeks later,” a press representative said in an email, which confirmed that the organization had received a PPP loan of $ 1,064,800.
“At the moment, Zach has no clear idea of when they can safely produce again, which leads to the conundrum of rehiring staff too early, the loan runs out too quickly and the organization doesn’t is not able to stay afloat. Right now, the priority of all arts organizations is survival: making sure there is an organization so those who have been put on leave can go back to the other side of it. “
The Zach Theater is one of Austin’s largest arts organizations and the city’s largest production theater. Its annual budget is around $ 11 million, according to its most recent publicly available IRS Form 990.
The organization’s leadership did not take any time off, but in March representatives said artistic director Dave Steakley and executive director Elisabeth Challener were facing unspecified pay cuts. Zach Theater Form 990 lists Steakley’s salary as $ 188,699 and Challener’s salary is $ 171,812.
A PPP loan can be canceled entirely if an employer spends three-quarters of it on salary costs while maintaining pay levels and keeping all employees paid for eight weeks.
Cookie Ruiz, executive director of Ballet Austin, said that although the company had to cancel two of its productions this spring, its dancers remained employed.
“Our dancers have received their full contract for 2019/2020, and we are planning the same for 2020/21,” Ruiz said. “As exceptional artists and world-class athletes, we remain committed to the health of our dancers and the development of their careers. We will continue to offer our dancers the opportunity to train, regardless of the performance opportunities. “
Nicole Chism Griffin, director of communications for Contemporary Austin, which the museum, which operates two sites and a community art school, has put some of the staff on leave. “While it was largely the frontline staff who were put on leave, there are others who were also put on leave,” she said. “All senior executives have also received pay cuts. “
PPP loans are distinct from other CARES law funds that have been directed to the cultural sector. The National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities received $ 75 million, and $ 50 million went to the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
The NEA, NEH and Humanities Texas, using NEH money, all recently announced their relief grant distributions.
Several arts and cultural associations in Austin have received emergency assistance from several federal agencies.
Austin organizations receiving several grants from the CARES Act: