WASHINGTON — A Covington-based company received the bulk of the funding in Shuttered Venue Operators Grants that U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson announced Wednesday.
J.D. Entertainment LLC in Covington received $391,798 of more than $542,000 in funds for four entities in the 4th Congressional District..
An internet search for J.D. Entertainment LLC showed the company was an entertainment agency but was "permanently closed." A person who identified himself as affiliated with the company declined comment.
Other entities that received funds included:
• Conyers Rockdale Council for the Arts in Conyers: $4,291;
• A.R.T. Station in Stone Mountain: $61,609;
• Onstage Atlanta in Scottdale: $84,521.
“The American Rescue Plan created the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program to provide critical funding to our struggling businesses and they deserve to be able to access those funds,” said Johnson, D-Lithonia.
“I am glad the Small Business Administration heeded our call to improve and expedite the approval process, so this critical aid for our businesses will arrive sooner. These local businesses not only create good jobs and contribute to our local economy but also contribute to the spirit and local culture of our community.”
David Thomas, president and artistic director for ART Station in the city of Stone Mountain, said, “The ART Station (Stone Mountain) is so grateful to the Shuttered Venues Grant we received from the SBA. These funds are instrumental to ART Station as they will be used to assist with the reopening of our art center and theatre company.”
As a part of the American Rescue Plan, Johnson voted to establish the SVOG program which provides support to hard-hit businesses in the music and entertainment sector that were forced to shut their doors due to pandemic restrictions.
The program was initially plagued by technical challenges, which have since been greatly improved, a news release stated.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) opened the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) application portal in April 2021 for operators of live venues, including live venue promoters, theatrical producers, and talent representatives; live performing arts organizations; and movie theatres
Entities that had to shutter their doors a year ago in response to the COVID-19 pandemic were eligible. That included venues that promoted or booked concerts, plays, dance performances, movie premieres, museum exhibits, and more.
For those who are talent representatives, at least 70 percent of operations must involve managing or representing performers, who must be booked at live events and paid based on ticket sales or entrance fees.
All qualifying applicants must have been fully operational as of Feb. 29, 2020.