The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts will receive a total of $25 million funding as part of the $2.2 trillion coronavirus rescue package bill aiming to help lift the economy and tackle the pandemic.
President Donald Trump signed the bill on Friday, after it passed the Republican-led Senate Wednesday with bipartisan support in a 96-0 vote.
The Kennedy Center was originally planned to get $35 million, which was later reduced to $25 million.
On the other hand, it was reported by the Washington Free Beacon on Saturday that the Kennedy Center notified the National Symphony Orchestra that it would stop paying them as of April 3 only hours after the $25 million taxpayer bailout was signed by the president.
The report was attributed to an email from the orchestra’s Covid-19 Advisory Committee.
“[Kennedy Center President] Deborah Rutter abruptly informed us today that the last paycheck for all musicians and librarians will be April 3 and that we will not be paid again until the Center reopens,” the email said, according to the report.
The venue announced on March 12 that it has canceled its performances and public events until further notice due to the threat of COVID-19 as per the specific public health recommendations issued by D.C. Health and Mayor Muriel Bowser.
“The Kennedy Center’s highest priority is the health and well-being of all our patrons, artists, volunteers, and staff,” it was said in a statement.
Even though its campus and facilities, including the restaurant and café, were closed to visitors, administrative staff were still working for basic operations.
— The Kennedy Center (@kencen) March 25, 2020
“While this is an extraordinarily difficult decision to suspend all performances and activity throughout the month of March, it is the right thing to do to protect the health and well-being of our patrons, artists, and staff,” Rutter had said about the move.
“Kennedy Center leadership has taken swift action and will do our part to help in the serious containment efforts called for by our city’s and country’s top government officials and medical experts.”
Those who have tickets for canceled events are offered four options:
- Donate your tickets, and receive a tax deduction for the total ticket value
- Exchange your tickets for a future date or alternate show (where possible)
- Exchange your tickets for a Kennedy Center gift certificate
- Receive a full refund for the value of the ticket and associated fees.
“We strongly encourage you to consider donating your ticket back to the Kennedy Center,” the venue says.