Two north-east art venues have been awarded a share of more than £800,000 of emergency funding to help them survive through the pandemic.
Aberdeen Performing Arts has received £750,000 and The Barn in Banchory has also been given £105,000 from the Scottish Government’s Performing Arts Venues Relief Fund.
Money has been awarded to 20 venues across Scotland to help keep them afloat while the virus threat remains in place.
The fund was designed to help reduce the possibility of arts organisations running out of cash as well as reducing the possibility of redundancies.
It’s also hoped to increase employment opportunities for freelance artists and creative workers.
It is the first strand of the Scottish Government’s £12.5m Performing Arts Venues Relief Fund to be released through Creative Scotland.
Jane Spiers, Aberdeen Performing Arts chief executive welcomed the money.
She said: “We’ve had a mountain to climb since we closed our venues in March as nearly 90% of our turnover as an arts charity is earned income.
“We’re grateful for all the support we’ve received to date from our local authority, business resilience grants, loans and generous donations from our customers which have kept us going.
“Securing Performing Arts Venues Relief Funds has given us the stability to plan for the future again, safeguard jobs, continue to support artists and creative practitioners in the north-east and keep in touch with audiences.
“We’re not out of the woods though. It will be many months before we can open our venues again and it will be a challenge to get back on our feet next year but this funding is a lifeline.”
And a spokeswoman from The Barn said the cash would help secure jobs.
She said: “We’re grateful and relieved to receive support from the Performing Arts Venues Relief Fund, which will help to safeguard our organisation until March 2021.
“As a result, we will ensure we have key staff in place to work on a sustainable future for the Barn and vital projects that will contribute to the health and well being of our audiences, networks, and communities.
“This includes providing recovery support for vulnerable individuals, who have been shielding away from cultural services for many months.
“Covid-19 will have a long-lasting impact on the ecology of the arts sector, and over the coming months, The Barn will work with artists towards more diverse modes of activity and will develop new ways of being creative together. It is our hope that this relief support funding will enable us to move towards a prolific period of creative activity which will deeply consider, develop and enhance the well being of people and the planet.”
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Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop described theatres and art venues to be “vital” for communities.
She said: “Our performing arts venues effectively had to close overnight, with an almost complete loss of income. There is no doubt that in doing so they saved lives, and for that I am extremely grateful.
“We know the impact of this crisis will be long-term so ambitious action to support the future of these organisations, as well as our wider cultural infrastructure, is key. This funding will be a vital lifeline to help performing arts venues continue to weather the storm.”
And Iain Munro, CEO of Creative Scotland said: “There are significant challenges facing Scotland’s culture sector, due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. This funding for performing arts venues is much needed and will help organisations tackle these challenges but we are aware that budgets are finite and it is not possible to provide financial assistance to every organisation through this route at this time.
“The Covid-19 emergency funds announced for the culture sector so far are not, by any means, the end of the support to be offered and there will be more announcements to come, not least in terms of how the £97m Scotland has received for culture and heritage as a result of the UK Government’s funding package is to be applied. The precise nature of this is still being determined and, beyond what has already been made available, Creative Scotland is working closely with the Scottish Government to actively discuss further support for the culture sector, including for those who may not have received funding previously.”