The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) today announced the New Jersey Community Stage Relief Grant Program. The $17.5 million program will provide grants of up to $300,000 to eligible for-profit establishments that host at least two regularly occurring live performances or events per week. More information about the program is available at https://business.nj.gov/covid/covid-relief-venues.

“From Count Basie and Springsteen to Sinatra and Queen Latifah, New Jersey has a long and rich history of supporting performing artists and the venues where they connect with their fans. The COVID-19 pandemic hit performing arts businesses particularly hard, and now that we are able to begin safely reopening it is critical that we help them get back on their feet,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “The New Jersey Community Stage Relief Grant Program, along with the New Jersey Council on the Arts program for nonprofit establishments, will provide much-needed funding to help performing arts venues recover from the impact of COVID-19 and get back to hosting the shows that help make New Jersey such a vibrant, exciting place to live.”

The arts and culture industry has seen major disruption as a result of the pandemic. This includes venues that host live performances or events and the businesses that organize, promote, produce, and manage these live events. To address this impact, Governor Phil Murphy allocated $17.5 million of Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) and American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding to the NJEDA to support arts and culture organizations. This is in addition to $7.5 million in grant funding for nonprofit arts venues awarded by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

The New Jersey Community Stage Relief Grant Program announced today will use the $17.5 million allocated to the NJEDA to provide grants equal to 30 percent of a qualified establishment’s decline in operating revenue from 2019 to 2020, up to a maximum grant award of $300,000.

The New Jersey Community Stage Relief Grant Program is only open to for-profit establishments with arts focused NAICS Codes or businesses that make 50 percent or more of their operating revenue from the organization, hosting, promotion, production, or management of live music or performances.

In order to focus funding on hard hit community-based arts and culture businesses and work towards Governor Murphy and Lieutenant Governor Sheila Y. Oliver’s goals of investment in New Jersey’s diverse communities, establishments that meet one of the baseline eligibility criteria must also be able to demonstrate that they:

  • Have a venue capacity of 2,500 or less;
  • Host at least two live performances per week;
  • Collect admission fees or sell tickets for events;
  • Pay artists for performing at their events; and
  • Experienced a 25 percent or greater operating loss between Q2 2019 and Q2 2020.

The NJEDA anticipates opening applications for the New Jersey Community Stage Relief Grant Program in August. Applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis, based on the date and time at which the Authority receives the application.

In line with Governor Murphy’s commitment to a stronger, fairer recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, 33 percent of total funding available for the New Jersey Community Stage Relief Grant Program will be set aside to support establishments that have a commercial business address in a census tract that was eligible to be selected as a New Jersey Opportunity Zone.

Comprehensive information about the eligibility and document requirements for the New Jersey Community Stage Relief Grant Program is available at https://business.nj.gov/covid/covid-relief-venues.

Learn more about New Jersey’s COVID-19 response and other programs for businesses impacted by COVID-19 at https://business.nj.gov/covid.