Non-for-Profit Venues in Upstate New York Call for Aid With #lightsUPstateNY Initiative

Non-for-profit venues across upstate New York call for aid from Governor Cuomo and their state elected leaders during the COVID-19 crisis. They are calling for aid through their #lightsUPstateNY initiative, trying to bring light to the hardships these performing arts centers are facing. 

Bardavon interior photo by Tim Lee.

According to Chris Silva, Executive Director at
Bardavon 1869 Opera House, the new protocols, requirements and re-staffing caused by COVID-19 will require not only time and capital, but every month these closures continue the costs of these eleven venues add up to a collective $1,500,000 dollars, with no significant revenue to offset it. This is a huge amount of money to these smaller local economies. These venues hope to bring light to the reality of their dim situation, as many venues across the United States are pledged with Save Our Stages campaign.

The venues involved call for aid with the #lightsUPstateNY initiative are: The Bardavon in Poughkeepsie, UPAC in Kingston, Shea’s Performing Arts Center in Buffalo, RBTL’s Auditorium Theatre in Rochester, Smith Center for the Arts in Geneva, Landmark Theatre in Syracuse, Stanley Theatre in Utica, Proctors Collaborative in Schenectady, Palace Theatre in Albany, State Theatre in Ithaca, and the Clemens Center in Elmira. 

These venues estimate the cost to reopen themselves, if a spring 2021 opening is possible, will be at least 15 million dollars – more if the “pause” caused by COVID-19 continues. As a group they bring over 250 million of collective, local economic impact to Upstate each year, which has come to an abrupt halt. 

Silva explained the reasoning behind the union of #lightsUPstateNY initiative saying, “The large theatres of Upstate so often share similar realities. As we think about our restarts sometime in 2021, we decided to come together to speak with one voice about our needs and challenges as we get back to being at the heart of our cities and communities.”

All of the venues involved  operate as 501(c)3 non-profit organizations – committed to serving their communities – and have worked together to create a network across Upstate for bands and theatrical performances to take place. They do this by offering a variety of live entertainment for all audiences, including concerts, comedy, dramatic and family events, as well as offer a mixed-use space for local performing groups, graduations, recitals and other presentations. 

The hope of #lightsUPstateNY is to bring awareness to the dire need these venues are experiencing, while also calling on Governor Cuomo and their state elected leaders for aid. 

#lightsUPstateNYCovid-19Governor Andrew CuomoLight up upstate NYSave Our Stages