COVID-19 funding shines spotlight on local performing arts

Local News

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – COVID-19 has greatly impacted West Virginia’s performing arts industry, but money from the CARES Act will be used to help keep the doors open and the spotlight on.

Musicians currently can’t play and performers can’t perform due to guidelines set in place by Gov. Jim Justice.

The West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture & History is designated $50,000 to non-profit performing arts groups and organizations across the state.

Director of the West Virginia Arts Office, Lance Schrader said, “our main thrust of this is to preserve as many jobs as possible in people who are doing the most creative things during COVID, we’re trying to push that money towards those performing arts groups.”

This includes musicians, theater troops and dance groups, like “Kanawha Valley Friends Of Old Time Music and Dance (FOOTMAD)”.

Kanawha Valley Footmad Board Member, Paul Epstein said, “well, we had to stop everything we were doing. We couldn’t do performances, we certainly couldn’t do folk dances with all the swings and breathing in each other’s faces…”

The money can help pay employees, rent, buy equipment and keep the doors open through the pandemic.

“The arts are an important part of any community – supporting them… it’s just a no-brainer,” said Epstein.

Each applicant can receive up to $5,000 and the grants will be given to organizations who need it most.

Groups and organizations have until October 31 to fill out the application.

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