PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — State lawmakers have voted to distribute $50 million in federal relief funds to Oregon arts and culture organizations still struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Legislators voted Tuesday to direct $24 million to individual organizations including the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Oregon Symphony among others and another $26 million to county coalitions who can distribute funds to other local arts and culture organizations in need, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.
“This is a really welcome gift,” said Dana Whitelaw, executive director of the High Desert Museum in Bend, which received $700,000 from the bill. The museum is projecting a revenue loss of close to $1.5 million through the end of the year, she said. “This starts to cover a significant portion of that.”
The largest amounts went to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, which received $4.7 million, and Metro, which got $4.1 million. Funds also went to the Oregon Symphony, Portland Opera, Portland Center Stage, Oregon Ballet Theater, Pendleton Round-Up and the Oregon Coast Community College.
More than $9.6 million will also be split up among 78 arts venues around the state, from Revolution Hall in Portland to the Elgin Opera House in northeast Oregon.
The $50 million comes from the CARES Act, a federal coronavirus relief fund that distributed an estimated $2.45 billion to Oregon. The Joint Emergency Board of the Oregon State Legislature approved the bill Tuesday on a 19-1 vote.