Peoria offers relief to local artists

Package includes aid for Theater Works, Arizona Broadway Theatre

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The city of Peoria is offering a $270,000 relief fund for the arts community including a package for Peoria-based Theater Works and Arizona Broadway Theatre.

Funds will be available to individual creative industries that operate in Peoria or provide services within the city.

Money will come from the city’s dedicated arts fund stemming from all city capital improvement projects such as parks, fire stations and libraries, contributing 1% of total costs.

Usually money from this fund is used for commissioning public art such as sculptures and visual arts located throughout the city.

Mayor Cathy Carlat said the money in this fund may only be used for art within the city.

“We’ve used it in various ways, but right now we have a crisis, a crisis of our small businesses and of course a health crisis that has caused us to first look at arts because, for one, we have an arts fund that can be reprogrammed instead of putting sculptures and works of art around our city, we can use it to help our small businesses,” she said. “In addition to that, the arts community is one that could very easily fall between the cracks and we could lose them first and fast. Bringing this forward doesn’t mean we aren’t going to be talking about the rest of our businesses in our city and commerce and economic development, but it means that we have to look at what is critical first.”

The program is divided into four areas.

Arts Enhancement Initiative

A one-time funding of a $100,000 for the Arts Initiative Grants Program will go to the procurement of fine arts from qualified nonprofit and for-profit fine arts organizations serving the city of Peoria.

Not-for-profit and for-profit organizations may apply for up to three different grants, ranging from $1,000 to $5,000. All awardees must provide some type of public benefit. The review and awards process is expected to be completed by end of June.

Neighborhood and Human Services Director Chris Hallett said the purpose of the grant is to provide opportunities for local artists to continue to do trade in Peoria.

To be eligible, businesses must have a valid Peoria business license or show they do work in Peoria.

“In exchange for the grant they will be providing arts programing within the city of Peoria. It is a revenue source for them to continue to operate. We would open the RFP process, and hope to have applications turned in by the end of May to turn it around quickly through a review committee, and to award by the end of June.”

Theater Works operating agreement

The city council voted to amend Theater Works’ operating agreement for a one-time, fiscal year 2020 management service fee increase of $125,000 from the 1% Arts Fund and defer rental revenue share with the city to July 1, 2022.

Theater Works, 10580 N. 83rd Drive, Peoria, announced May 20 that it will suspend all in-person programming until the fall, due to coronavirus precautions.

The canceled in-person programming includes previously planned summer productions and summer camps.

Peoria owns the performing arts center and contracts with Theater Works to manage and operate it as a community theater. Theater Works produces 200 events and hosts 40 theatrical and arts education sessions for all ages, annually. The theater company draws about 36,000 theater patrons to Old Town Peoria and participates in Old Town special events that draw an additional 60,000 individuals, according to city staff.

Mr. Hallett said city staff reviewed Theater Work’s financials to reach the one-time funding that will help keep “lights-on needs” and then “keep production going when they are able to resume.”

Arizona Broadway Theatre grant

The city council authorized an operating agreement with Arizona Broadway Theatre for a one-time, fiscal year 2020 grant in the amount of $45,000. As part of the agreement, ABT will provide in-kind public programs and services within the city.

ABT has been in Peoria for 14 years and produces musical theater, dining, and hosts other arts programming for the community. Last year, between productions, classes, camps and other functions, more than 100,000 patrons attended a function at ABT.

Annually, ABT produces about six mainstage shows with a four-week run, eight shows per week, and it has evolved into one of the largest arts organizations in the state of Arizona.

KLOS Enterprises lease amendment

The city council approved an amendment to the underlying land lease agreement with KLOS Enterprises.

KLOS owns the building in which ABT conducts nonprofit theatrical performances.

The amendment will allow for KLOS to defer three months of lease payments to the city equaling $13,700.

Each deferred payment will extend the term of payment by one month to the end of the lease.

Mr. Hallett said the benefits will be passed on to th nonprofit ABT.

KLOS has a 25-year lease with the city for the land on which the building sits, with options to extend for two successive 10-year periods, totaling 45 years. Under the agreement,  KLOS will still have the option to purchase land after five years, at fair market value.

Councilwoman Bridget Binsbacher said these are hard decisions to make.

“This is just one component of supporting citizens and businesses and art and all the different things we have to look at to get through this together. And we need to be responsible stewards of tax payer dollars. And to look at what resources we have to work with for all the needs across the board,” she said.

Philip Haldiman can be reached at 623-876-3697, phaldiman@newszap.com, or on Twitter @philiphaldiman.

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