NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Millions of dollars have been lost when it comes to the performing arts and music scene in the Lowcountry because of the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Hundreds are unemployed and many are counting down the days to when they can get back to doing what they love.
At the North Charleston Performing Arts Center, there hasn’t been a musical artist or performer up on stage since everything shut down in March.
Leaders know the performing arts scene has really been hurting, one of the main reasons why bills have been introduced to try and help.
There are two identical versions of the “Save Our Stages” Act going through Congress. One was introduced to the Senate and one to the House back in July.
The act will help independent live entertainment venues for the revenue lost and expand unemployment assistance to help the workers. It essentially will be like the PPP Loans but for the arts scene.
North Charleston PAC and Coliseum General Manager Frank Lapsley says it was an easy choice to get on board to urge leaders to vote these bills through because it will have an impact on all levels.
“We are a feeder system for the actors out on the road, the equity actors, who are eventually going to wind up on Broadway,” Lapsley says. “As that feeder system of venues, as they grow, is really important. So this is going to help those who have the smaller margins.”
Lapsley says the venues aren’t in any danger of closing, it’s the people it employs who really need these funds.
“It’s a lifestyle business,” Lapsley says. “You’re either in it, or you’re not in it. We can’t let those people go, we can’t let them disappear.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham and Rep. Joe Cunningham are co-sponsors of the bills. As of right now, no actions have been taken yet.
In the meantime, those in the performing arts scene are crossing their fingers venues will be able to open again soon.