Friends of Boca Grande on ‘red alert,’ keeping things flexible with the program

August 28, 2020
By Olivia Cameron

BY OLIVIA CAMERON AND FRIENDS OF BOCA GRANDE- The Florida Professional Presenters Consortium, a statewide organization of over 60 performing arts venues, including Friends of Boca Grande Community Center is joining “Red Alert,” a nationwide effort to encourage Congress to provide relief for the live entertainment industry, which has been uniquely affected by the pandemic.
On Tuesday night, September 1, from 9 p.m. to midnight, performing arts venues across the nation and across Florida will light their exteriors in red as part of a nationwide call to action, imploring the US Congress to pass the RESTART Act (S. 3814/H.R. 7481) and the Save Our Stages Act (S. 4258/H.R. 7806) as quickly as possible.
The RESTART Act and the Save Our Stages Act offer economic relief to the live events industry, which has been shuttered since March, 2020. Red Alert also advocates for extending Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, to provide relief to those without work since March due to COVID-19. Nationwide, 12 million show workers are estimated to be unemployed because of COVID-19, including designers, technicians, programmers, stagehands and others.
Marta Howell, Executive Director of Friends of Boca Grande Community Center said, “We are joining in support of performing arts organizations across the nation. Many performance venues, including the Boca Grande Community Center, were among the first to close and may be part of the last to reopen. While many uncertainties remain for the months ahead, Friends of Boca Grande is planning for the 2020-21 season to offer a mix of virtual livestream programs and, as the climate allows, hold in-person events with social distancing and safety protocols followed. We hope we can count on you to help us keep the arts alive!”
Kevin Stone, President of Florida Presenters said, “Our culture, the music, dance and theatre created and performed in each of our cities, is what makes them unique and special places. We must make sure that survives. It’s also about jobs and the economy. The member venues of Florida Presenters alone create a total economic impact every year of $495 million, which supports the Full Time Equivalent of 15,425 jobs, $377.7 million of household income, $21.8 million of local government fees and taxes, and $26.1 million of state government fees and taxes.”
Fans and the general public can help raise awareness and create pressure on Congress to act now in several ways. Visit saveourstages.com to send a letter to your US Senators and your US Representative. Use the hashtags #SAVEOURSTAGES and #RedAlertRESTART on social media. Light your own residence or business red in a show of solidarity, or use a red filter on a social media image.
Friends of the Boca Grande Community Center has left the physical Happenings program guide behind in light of the upcoming season. To keep the events flexible, Friends of Boca Grande will be offering a virtual program to alter and change information as things progress.
For the 2020-21 season, the organization will announce program scheduling through their email newsletter and on their website. This will keep local events fresh in the minds of visitors and residents. The team aims to entertain all interests, even if they have to hold events virtually.
Friends of Boca Grande asks those interested to update your email and contact information for communication access. Emails may be sent to the spam box if not labeled ‘important.’ Also, the group suggests keeping their webpage, friendsofbocagrande.org, in your back pocket. The website will provide up-to-date information on future events and houses virtual events from the previous season. They continue to offer entertainment, including free plays to watch at home provided by the National Theatre. The virtual entertainment is listed on their website under #FriendsAtHome. The organization suggests liking their Facebook page for updates and other fun material.
For more information or questions, call the Friends of Boca Grande office at (941) 964-0827. You can update your contact information to stay in the know by visiting the Friends of Boca Grande website and scrolling to the bottom of the page, where it says ‘Update Contact Info’ or ‘Join our Mailing List.’