Heads Up: COVID Updates for The Creative Sector

This article is our round-up of updates on public health, relief and recovery information for the creative sector.  It includes information and resources shared by other organizations, on our site and through our social media channels.  It also includes updates on the Handbook site itself and our Puget Sound community of creative sector partners.  The information here will also be shared in a regular newsletter, which you can subscribe to at the bottom of this page.  Thanks!


An odd time for venues.

The SBA’s “Shuttered Venue Operators” grant program promises 45% of a venues 2019 gross, up to $10M.  The program, previously known by the initiative’s legislative name, “Save Our Stages” may have been confirmed and announced in January, but the SBA still haven’t released details on timeline, leaving a country full of venues in a bit of limbo for now.  NIVA and the SBA each have information pages to watch for updates.

In the meantime, the State introduced the Healthy Washington Roadmap to Recovery, re-opening plan at the beginning of the year and moved King County and the Puget Sound Region into Phase 2 just two weeks ago, allowing all sorts new activities, including especially the first allowances for indoor live entertainment.

However, apparently not much has opened yet.  According to the Seattle Times, only a few local music venues intend to reopen currently due to safety concerns and limits that are too strict for a working financial model.  The Times also have a list of everything they tracked as open, which includes mostly museums and movie theaters.



Opportunities for bars, restaurants and food businesses.

Two Food Service WorkersLike the venues above, restaurants and bars are doing the math about the new reopening.  Some are opening and others are not, as reported here by the Times. For those who are opening, the County is providing free safety supplies through the SSTAR Program, including facemasks, gloves, thermometers and hand sanitizer.

Also of note is a free opportunity next week (Feb 22 – 26) for all food and farm businesses in the Pacific Northwest. Food Biz Week is a curated week of virtual panels, presentations and networking activities, produced by Business Impact NW, Seattle Good Business Network and Sustainable Connections.



Sign up for vaccine eligibility notifications.

For now, Washington continues to be in Phase 1 of Vaccine eligibilty, which prioritizes healthcare workers, first responders, long-term care facility residents, and all people 65 years or older.  Here’s a chart.

You can also use the Department of Health’s Phase Finder to check your eligibility and sign up for notifications as the timeline progresses Find the screening survey and notification registration here.


More financial assistance is coming.

Artist Trust Announces a New Phase of The COVID-19 Artist Trust Relief FundIn addition to the news about SBA Venue funding above, and the SBA PPP loans reopening last month, it looks like several sources are planning to open (or re-open) grant programs soon, including Artist Trust and the State’s Working Washington grants program.

Artist Trust announced last week a new phase of relief funding for artists throughout the state, which will fund at least 100 artists at $1000 each.  The application period will be announced soon.

Meanwhile, the State Legislature is likely to soon pass additional aid for small businesses through the Working Washington grants program.  House Bill 1368 is the early-action bill that would provide $240 million for a new round of grants for small businesses impacted by COVID-19. The bill has passed the House and is currently being considered in the Senate. Assistant Director Chris Green of Commerce’s Office of Economic Development and Competitiveness provided an update on details of the bill during a recent interview with the Association of Washington Business

Finally, if you are considering the PPP program, take a look at the webinars and other resources offered by Seattle’s Office of Economic Development.  The City is offering help for any small business navigating PPP, EIDL and other opportunities.

Keep on holding on, and check out our resource directory for updates to these and other funding programs.



How does a little good news sound?

The light at the end of the tunnel is actually a par can above the stages of the Seattle Theatre Group, who announced their next season of Broadway musicals, which starts October 19 with Jesus Christ Superstar and includes Hamilton in August or 2022.

The live music at the airport is hardly the biggest loss of COVID, but its nice to have something similar back showing off our local music scene to travelers.  Sea-Tac Airport introduced the Music Wall, which loops two hours of performances by 30 Seattle-area musicians.  Here’s the video.



Opportunities & Resources

Emerging artists living in the PNW should apply to this climate resilience call from Climate Impact Group University of Washington. They’re commissioning a new two-dimensional original artwork that celebrates resilience and imagines a future in which the Northwest is prepared for the effects of a changing climate. It should illustrate a possible future under climate change where we have adapted our systems so all can thrive. Apply by February 22.

Cultural & Creative Workforce Development Internships are catered for youth ages 16-25 from a variety of Seattle communities.  Northwest Folklife, in collaboration with the Office of Economic Development and the Office of Arts and Culture, has developed a pilot internship program that provides paid internships for Seattle’s young creatives. These internships range between 12-24 weeks long and give youth hands-on training in various creative fields.  There are still 3 positions open, including one with the Rhapsody Project, one with Folklife and one with Blue Cone Studios.

Americans for the Arts (AFTA) have a nice resource page with tools and webinars to check out.  In particular, they recently held a webinar that covered the PPP funds, the venue relief funds and other arts and creative sector funding.  Find the webinar here.

Check out our resource directory for updates to these and other resources.


Photo by Dimitri Houtteman on Unsplash

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