Upstate New York Theaters Ask State for Funding
Struggling to recover from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, theaters in Upstate New York are banding together to request funding from the state.
According to a report by Susan Arbetter and Marisa Jacques of Spectrum News 1, thirteen theaters in Upstate New York, including State Theatre of Ithaca, Stanley Theatre of Utica and Syracuse Area Landmark Theatre, banded together to form the Upstate Theater Coalition. They've since rebranded as "Alive! Downtowns!"
CEO of Proctors Collaborative Philip Morris stated "Just like zoos and aquariums, even public television, have combine across the state to say to state government that they are critical, we find that we, similarly, have a story that makes us critical."
He also said "Sales tax revenue is driven by us. Can we get our state annual allotment that allows us to breathe?"
Alive! Downtowns! is seeking $20 million to help support these community staples in upstate New York out of the state's $220 billion budget.
The Covid-19 pandemic deeply affected a lot of industries, but theaters must be one of the highest on the list. At least with restaurants and bars, owners could take advantage of food delivery of the brief period where open containers were allowed so patrons could still gather outside of bars. But there's no way for a theater to remain open during a global pandemic that wouldn't allow people to gather in a full auditorium.
Even still, theater business hasn't fully returned yet. So if New York wants to maintain these staples of the upstate New York downtown communities, $20 million out of a $220 billion budget isn't that big of a drop in the bucket.