Milwaukee-area cultural organizations receive state COVID-19 relief funding

The Pabst Theater.

Last updated on November 9th, 2020 at 07:27 pm

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers announced Thursday the recipients of $15 million in COVID-19 relief grants intended to help cultural organizations weather the pandemic.

Some of the recipients of the largest grants in the Milwaukee area include: Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts, Polish Heritage Alliance, Pabst Theater Foundation, Milwaukee Ballet, Betty Brinn Children’s Museum, Pabst Mansion, Discovery World, Milwaukee Film, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Milwaukee Public Museum, Danceworks, Skylight Music Theater, Urban Ecology Center, Radio Milwaukee, First Stage Milwaukee, Milwaukee Art Museum, Marcus Performing Arts Center, Zoological Society of Milwaukee County, Florentine Opera Company, Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra, Irish Festivals, Inc.

Each of those organizations received a $137,712 grant.

The grants were awarded to 385 organizations in total.

“These cultural organizations represent the vibrant fabric of communities across our state and support Wisconsin’s tourism industry and local economies,” Evers said. “This grant program will help organizations cover essential costs related to keeping their employees and communities safe throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”

A recent Wisconsin Policy Forum study found the state’s arts and culture sector has been one of the hardest-hit industries and is likely to be one of the last to normalize after the pandemic.

The funding can be used to cover pandemic-related impacts such as lost revenue, increased workers’ compensation costs, cleaning and sanitization, and purchases of services or equipment to facilitate telework by employees.

“Just like small businesses, cultural organizations have taken a major financial hit,” said Wisconsin Department of Administration secretary Joel Brennan. “We’re all in this together. We hope that these funds will make it possible for us to be able to enjoy the museums, theaters, and music from these organizations once it is safe to do so again.”

About 80 Milwaukee County organizations received grants. A full list of grant winners is available here.

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Lauren Anderson covers health care, nonprofits and education for BizTimes. Lauren previously reported on education for the Waukesha Freeman. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied journalism. In her free time, Lauren enjoys hiking, kayaking, and seeing live music.

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