Austin arts groups receive federal Shuttered Venue Operators Grants

Paramount Theatre, Ballet Austin, Zach Theatre and Bob Bullock History Museum each received over $2 million in federal grants


Numerous Austin arts organizations have received a Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG), part of the federal American Rescue Plan Act. The grants were recently announced by the Small Business Administration.

Administered by the Small Business Administration’s Office of Disaster Assistance, the $16 billion SVOG program was established this year by the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act, and amended by the American Rescue Plan Act.

Grants were figured based on an amount equal to 45% of an organization’s 2019 gross earned revenue. Eligible for-profit and non-profit entities included live venue operators or promoters, theatrical producers, live performing arts organization operators, museum operators, motion picture theater operators and talent representatives

Among Austin’s for-profit entertainment businesses, SXSW, Inc. received $8 million. Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar got $7.58 million, Alamo Drafthouse Lakeline received $6.1 million and Alamo Mueller, $4.95 million

Zach Theatre received $2.6 million. In a statement, the non-profit theatre company said it would use some of the money to rebuild back its staff, including reimbursing employees who experienced salary cuts during the pandemic. Zach Theatre was the first major arts organization in Austin to announces dramatic layoffs due to the pandemic. On March 31, 2020, just a few weeks after shutdown, the theatre said it furloughed 75% of its staff or about 200 people.

Then in July 2020, it received over $1 million in Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loans, more than any other non-profit arts organization in Austin. A representative at the time said the theater had no immediate plans to bring staff back.

Now, however, some 56% of Zach’s current staff is comprised of new hires, rehires, or transitioned back to full-time, according to a news release.

Austin non-profit arts organization receiving a Shuttered Venue Operators Grant of $100,000 or more

A list of all SVOG distributed nationally is available at

Jeanne Claire van Ryzin
Jeanne Claire van Ryzin
An award-winning arts journalist, Jeanne Claire van Ryzin is the founder and editor-in-chief of Sightlines.

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