Gov. Polis signs creative arts industry bill into law

Politics

DENVER (KDVR) — Gov. Jared Polis is making stops around the state, working to sign the hundreds of bills passed during the Colorado legislature’s session — all of which need to be signed or vetoed in the next 30 days.

One of the first on his list is one designed to help an industry left in the shadows by the pandemic.

More than a year after stages in Colorado and the world went dark, lawmakers are sending theatres some much needed relief.

The bill will send $6 million from the state’s general fund to the office of film and television. Additionally, $15.5 million is heading to the state’s art relief program, and $1.5 million will go towards helping cultural facilities.

The money is meant to help expand possibilities for theaters like Su Teatro in Denver. Tony Garcia, the theater’s executive artistic director, estimates the company lost $250,000 due to the pandemic. He said he hopes the new cash will make up for years of underfunding.

“Recognizing that inequity takes place, is a first step and an important step. And then putting resources into that space, really this is not exciting, but it really is about infrastructure. It’s really about having an organization that carry out things over and over again, it’s not just about programming,” said Garcia.

Centers are not the only ones getting relief. Lawmakers made sure individual artists can get help too.

“The gallery is actually helping us distribute these funds across Colorado. If you are an individual artist, you’ll be eligible to get up to $2,500 in cash assistance, all you have to do is prove you’re an artist,” said Representative Leslie Herod, a prime sponsor of the bill. “So, make sure you apply and tell your friends to apply. We went through one round of funding already and I’ve got to tell you, we underfunded it severely. This time, I think we’ve got it right.”

The funding is set to be allocated for the upcoming fiscal year starting in July.

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