Denver Arts & Venues has announced that it will close all of its venues beginning in October and will remain shut until further notice. This includes iconic Colorado locations including Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, and McNichols Civic Center. The Denver Coliseum as well as the Colorado Convention Center will remain open, but only for COVID-19 support purposes.
The announcement comes days after thousands of venues across the country lit up with red lights as part of the #RedAlertRESTART movement in support of the Restart Act. WeMakeEvents, the organization behind the movement, notes that as many as “12 million people in the events industry are currently unemployed, furloughed, or have lost up to 90% of their income.”
Along with these venue closures, Denver Arts & Venues has announced either full-time or part-time furloughs of all employees starting at the end of September and running at least until January 2021. While the firm is technically a part of the city and county of Denver, it is responsible for raising its own funds for labor expenses, venue maintenance, and other operating costs.
“It’s hoped that by pausing things now, at a time when we know our venues won’t be open, Arts & Venues can be in a financial position to reopen quickly once live entertainment returns,” Denver Arts & Venues spokesperson Brian Kitts said in a statement. “This is a tough time for our community and our own staff, and we’re hoping to be back in operation as soon as the arts and cultural industries are allowed.”
In an open letter to the Denver community, Arts & Venues executive director Ginger White stated that, “It is our hope that by taking these measures now, Arts & Venues will be in a position to resume business quickly as pandemic-related conditions improve and our industry regains its health. We understand the impact these decisions have on our community, especially on those with whom we work.”
Read White’s full letter below.
An Open Letter to the Denver Community
The effects of Covid-19 continue to devastate many industries including arts, cultural facilities, sports and entertainment. As the operator of the City’s premier entertainment venues, Denver Arts & Venues has been deeply affected by the loss of shows, performances and conventions at our facilities.
Arts & Venues is an agency known as a Special Revenue Fund and, as such, does not receive a transfer from the City’s General Fund. Instead, the agency is responsible for raising its own revenue and paying its own expenses including labor costs, capital improvements and venue maintenance. This year, without revenue from our venues (Colorado Convention Center, Denver Coliseum, Denver Performing Arts Complex, McNichols Civic Center Building, Red Rocks Amphitheatre), the agency faces difficult choices regarding how to maintain solvency. Like many other businesses, including those of our promoter and presenting partners, these options include reducing costs in operations and personnel.
Unfortunately, a decision has been reached to reduce operations at the agency’s venues, unless they are being used for Covid-related relief programs, until health experts determine it’s safe to return. More personally, additional cost-saving measures include the furlough of all Arts & Venues employees on either a full-time or part-time basis until at least January 2021. It is our hope that by taking these measures now, Arts & Venues will be in a position to resume business quickly as pandemic-related conditions improve and our industry regains its health. We understand the impact these decisions have on our community, especially on those with whom we work.
All of us at Arts & Venues remain committed to providing support to those who enjoy our City’s arts, cultural and entertainment facilities and programs and look forward to a happier time when we can once again gather in celebration of music, performance and art – the show will go on.
Denver Arts & Venues
Red Rocks recently announced that it will host a series of crowd-less concerts in early September. The lineup for the three days of music 9/1–9/3 includes Phoebe Bridgers, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Lil Baby, Megan Thee Stalion,Brett Young, and Sam Hunt.
[H/T 303 Magazine]