October 01, 2021

Duckworth Discusses Success of Shuttered Venues Operators Grant Program with Chicago Music Venue Leaders


[CHICAGO, IL] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today met with leaders of the Chicago Independent Venue League (CIVL) to discuss how the Shuttered Venues Operators Grant (SVOG) program that she supported the creation of is helping Chicago’s performance venues, as well as the successes and challenges for venue owners as live performances have resumed. Duckworth also toured Schubas Tavern, one of Chicago’s historic venues that received funding through the SVOG program. Duckworth met with CIVL board members including The Hideout owner Katie Tuten, Subterranean and Beat Kitchen owner Robert Gomez, Annoyance Theater Executive Producer Jennifer Estlin, Whistler and Sleeping Village owner Billy Helmkamp, Schubas Tavern manager Cassie Dickson as well as other independent venue owners. Photos of today’s meeting are available here.

“Independent venues throughout Chicago are critical to the city’s vibrant arts and music scene,” Duckworth said. “The pandemic hit these small businesses especially hard, but I’m pleased to see these venues coming back to life with the assistance of the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program. I’ll keep working to ensure these venues and all of our small businesses have the support they need as they continue to recover from the impacts of COVID-19.”

As a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business, Duckworth has been a strong supporter of providing relief to independent venues. Duckworth was a co-sponsor of the Save Our Stages Act, which was included as part of the December 2020 COVID-19 relief package. This helped create SVOG, which appropriated $15 billion in federal grants for independent live music venue operators. The American Rescue Plan appropriated an additional $1.25 billion for SVOG. To date, SVOG has distributed nearly $450 million in funding to more than 400 live music and arts venues, promoters, cultural museums and theaters in Illinois.