Performing arts hoping to get a boost from newly available state grants

Posted at 7:03 PM, Dec 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-10 08:10:16-05

PUEBLO — Restaurants have takeout orders during the pandemic to keep themselves afloat, but “you can’t DoorDash a theater show,” according to one playhouse member.

Darin Stuart and Meg Versteeg are Board Members of Impossible Players, a long-established community theater in Pueblo. The playhouse’s employees are completely volunteering and any money the theater makes comes from ticket sales to shows.

“We have barely enough money to get by and do the next show,” admitted Versteeg. “If the furnace goes out, we’re in big trouble cause we don’t have enough money to fix it.”

The playhouse has had two shows so far in 2020, but once Pueblo County returned to level Red on the COVID-19 dial, they closed the playhouse doors once again. According to Stuart and Versteeg, the limited capacity caps in place would have left the playhouse in a financial deficit, if the shows continued.

“If you paint or do that, you can do that on your own,” said Stuart. “Theater is a team effort and this whole pandemic has been crippling to this art.”

Recently, Colorado as a state passed a bill offering relief funds, according to State Representative Daneya Esgar. $7,500,000.00 of the total funds are being dedicated specifically to getting artists and venues through the winter.

“These organizations are the backbone of our communities,” said Esgar. “They’re critical, not just from an immediate employment standpoint, but also for the health and vibrancy of our entire state.”

According to Esgar, grants are not first-come-first-serve. Instead, they will be chosen based on which organizations are nearest to closing due to the pandemic. Impossible Players say if they are able to receive a grant, they would use the money get the resources they need in order to stream their performances to the community. Versteeg also says that the money “would mean a lot.”

“It would mean that we can survive and can see the future,” said Versteeg.

Any artist or venue in need of help can apply for a grant on the Colorado Creative Industries website. If approved, those awarded grants can expect to see the money as soon as the "next few weeks," according to Esgar.