Senate Bill 1116, a measure introduced by Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D - Burbank) which seeks to create a payroll fund to support small nonprofit performing arts venues (SNPAOs), was signed into law September 29, 2022 by Governor Newsom. The effort comes at a time when small community theatres are struggling in the aftermath of the pandemic.
"I am ecstatic and grateful that Governor Newsom recognized the importance of live performing arts in California. This vibrant community drives much of California's creative economy. Despite strong community support, neighborhood theaters have suffered from under-investment and COVID-19 shutdown impacts," stated Senator Portantino. "Investment in the arts helps all generations of Californians. In many cases, local theatres introduce young people to the arts and create opportunities for excellent careers with living wages. Collectively, we must lift the curtain and turn on the lights!"
Prior to the pandemic, California ranked 28th in state arts funding on a per capita basis. This chronic long-term underfunding of the industry amounted to a double-hit when the pandemic shut down much of the live arts. Johns Hopkins University reports that, as of October 2021, the percentage of job losses at nonprofit arts organizations remains more than three times worse than the average of all nonprofits.