Fox Cities P.A.C. looking for community support to get federal bills passed

Published: Sep. 16, 2020 at 5:20 PM CDT
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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) -With Congress back in session, the local arts community is hoping lawmakers will pass legislation that comes to their aid and they’re asking for the community’s help.

A lone spotlight sit on the stage at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center while the rest of the theater remains dark. The same holds true at venues across Northeast Wisconsin as the coronavirus pandemic lingers.

According to Fox Cities P.A.C. President, Maria Van Laanen, “We were one of the first businesses to close down and because we thrive on large gatherings of people, in place, where people are singing and speaking out we’re going to be one of the last to safely be able to reopen.”

The P.A.C. has released its schedule for 2021 and hopes to reopen early next year.

In the meantime, live arts venues are looking for some help, as they have zero revenue coming in. Help could come in the form of the Save our Stages Act and the RESTART Act, two proposals waiting for action in Congress.

“For our area, what these bills do, is they open up funding to allow us to make sure we can keep the business going in this downtime and the hope is that it will stretch to the point of when we are able to safely reopen,” says Van Laanen.

With lawmakers back in Washington, the P.A.C. is encouraging arts enthusiasts to reach out to their representatives and let their voices be heard.

The theater shutdown has directly impacted the more than 1,600 Fox Cities residents who work in the business, and that’s in addition to the millions in lost revenue.

“Push that they take action, especially on these two bills, but there is a lot of bills in front of them that would really help a lot of businesses so reach out directly to your representatives and let them know where you stand,” add Van Laanen.

In addition to reaching out to lawmakers, the P.A.C. is asking people to consider donating to its Act 2 fund with Van Laanen saying, “All of our arts groups need our help, so we encourage people to get involved both nationally and here locally.”

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