Auditorium receives $74K CARES grant

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

The Eureka Springs City Auditorium recently received a $73,707.45 grant through the Arkansas Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Rick Bright, finance director for the city advertising and promotion commission, said he heard about the grant just before Jan. 1. There was additional funding available through the CARES Act, Bright said, that needed to be spent before the year ended. Bright said the grant specifically targeted convention centers and auditoriums.

“So I applied and I got everything I put in, which is great,” Bright said. “It’s almost $74,000. That’s a big help to us.”

Bright said the grant helped cover one full-time employee’s salary from March 1 to Nov. 1, saying it also helped the CAPC pay the Eureka Sound contract and some smaller marketing items.

“It worked out really well. It was a whirlwind because they gave us two days to put it all together,” Bright said. “I had to pull all our checks and invoices and receipts.”

Bright said it’s rare to come across grants for auditoriums. The Eureka Springs City Auditorium can always use the extra funding, Bright said. He said it costs the CAPC roughly $100,000 to operate the Auditorium in a normal year.

“The city pays the utilities and the maintenance on it,” Bright said. “We pay to run it and keep it open.”

Even though the CAPC hasn’t held any concerts at the Auditorium in months because of COVID-19, Bright said, it still costs $4,000 a month to operate the building for city meetings and live-stream videos of concerts.

“It was great for the CAPC and the Auditorium because we’re just out a lot of money at the Auditorium,” Bright said. “Even if it’s sitting there empty, it costs us quite a bit to keep it going.”

Bright added, “So instead of losing basically $48,000 on the Auditorium side, we got some of that back at the end of 2020.”

The Auditorium is beloved by locals and historians, Bright said, so it’s important to continue operating the building. Those who love the building can show their support by coming to shows once public gatherings are possible, Bright said, and volunteering their time to help at future events.

“We have ushers, we have ticket takers and we have concession people,” Bright said. “As soon as we can start doing shows again, just support our shows and what we do in there.”

Bright said the CAPC is offering a free live stream on Thursdays, with local musicians playing in the Auditorium.

“That’s about all we’re doing right now but once we get rolling again, we will need volunteers,” Bright said.

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