MINNEAPOLIS — Around 1,500 buildings across the country are lit in red to raise awareness about the effects of COVID-19 on the arts, entertainment and recreation industry.
Live entertainment venues and theaters across the country have been in the dark since March.
Seth Scott, the owner of Monkey Wrench Productions in Golden Valley, is joining a nationwide movement to light up entertainment venues red Tuesday night. A sign of tumultuous times in the industry due to the COVID 19 pandemic.
“We went from everyone was booked out had tons of events coming up to a dead stop,” says Seth Scott, the owner of Monkey Wrench Productions. “No one has events until 2021, so that’s quite the gap to make up when you have operating expenses, salaries and benefits to pay for your employees.”
Scott says business is down 50% since the pandemic started back in early March.
He was able to qualify for a Paycheck Protection Program loan but says many in the industry are still waiting for help. “We’re trying to draw attention into the fact that the Restart Act needs to get passed so that our employees and our entire industry has a livelihood and a stopgap on when we can go back to work again.”
The Restart Act, introduced back in May, would extend pandemic unemployment assistance for millions of people in the entertainment and arts industry that are still out of work.
Leazah Behrens, a stagehand and freelance scenic designer, recently moved back to Minneapolis. She says it was difficult to find work in her field.
“There’s no work here, so all of my colleagues and friends had their shows either shut down or postponed or canceled,” says Behrens.
While some entertainment venues have resorted to live-streaming events, people in the industry say it’s important to continue to show support, before the stage lights at a few iconic venues, go out for good.
“A lot of them are thinking about having to shut down permanently and some might come back, some may never come back,” says Behrens. “How do we prolong people from staying in the industry and not having a mass exodus.”
More than a dozen people are scheduled to gather at the Stone Arch Bridge in Downtown Minneapolis in solidarity with events happening nationwide.