Sacramento, CA (May 3, 2021) – On April 26, 2021, The State Senate Labor, Public Employment and Retirement Committee passed Senate Bill 805 (SB 805), “Save The Performing Arts Act of 2021,” authored by Senator Susan Rubio (D-Baldwin Park) representing the 22nd District.
SB 805 will create a critical funding infrastructure to help small nonprofit performing arts companies throughout the state of California to continue to be an important social justice vehicle for marginalized voices. Testimony in Sacramento, CA was given by Dolores Huerta, Labor Rights Icon, Co-Founder of the United Farm Workers of America and President of the Dolores Huerta Foundation, and Josefina López, award-winning Playwright and Screenwriter (Real Women Have Curves), and Founding Artistic Director of CASA 0101 Theater located in Boyle Heights, CA. Learn more at equitablepayrollfund.org
SB 805 will create a funding program that will administer grants based on the size of company (i.e. smaller companies get larger grants) to help small theaters comply with AB 5. There will be a maximum revenue cap for eligible organizations. This funding will apply to all performing arts industries, including theaters, operas, and symphonies. It will also create a low-cost payroll services to nonprofit performing arts organizations.
“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for small theaters,” Senator Susan Rubio said.
“I grew up in Downtown Los Angeles at a time when you couldn’t escape drugs, gangs or violence. Everyone you knew, one way or another, got pulled in. Luckily, I was a very creative child and the arts became my escape. I was able to put my energy and creativity to work in positive ways. I spent seven years performing and volunteering in small theatres and saw the transformative work our community produces. So I want to thank the Committee for passing SB 805. This is about providing equity and protecting emerging voices and artists from marginalized communities.”
Dolores Huerta, said:
“In this critical time in our country, community theaters are desperately needed to enlighten, educate and motivate people to engage in social change. What is at stake is not an industry per se, but the vehicle of the voiceless and the downtrodden have to bring about change in the consciousness of the public at large.
“Not to mention, they represent the only access children in disadvantaged communities have compared to their more affluent counterparts. SB 805 provides a solution to help create and preserve opportunities for emerging artists, performers and people in the performing arts sector – particularly workers from marginalized communities. For all these reasons, I enthusiastically support SB 805 (Rubio), ‘Save The Performing Arts Act of 2021.’”
Josefina Lopez, said:
“I started my own small theater so that I could produce my plays and empower my community to learn to write plays and tell our stories. CASA 0101 has been my way of making my community visible and heard. It has also been my way of creating community so we could heal some of the trauma in Boyle Heights and also to give a voice to the wounds our community has carried by being left out of the history books and neglected economically and in other social ways. Small theaters are the only way marginalized communities get their stories told. If you are not a white male, small theaters allow for dreams to come true; they allow us to be the protagonists of our stories so we can see ourselves as the powerful people that we truly are.”
As of May 3rd, 2021, the SB 805 Coalition consists of the Dolores Huerta Foundation and 48 organizations/individuals throughout the state of California, including 5 Theater Leagues, 40 small 99-seat theaters and 3 independent artists.
SB 805, is authored by State Senator Susan Rubio (D-Baldwin Park) representing the 22nd District, and co-authored by State Senator Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica) representing the 26th District. SB 805 will next be heard by State Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday, May 20, 2021.
More About SB 805:
SB 805, entitled, “Save The Performing Arts Act of 2021,” is the first bill in the nation that will create a critical funding infrastructure to help assist Small Nonprofit Performing Arts Companies (SNPAC) with average adjusted gross revenues equal to, or less than $1.4 million, to be adjusted every five years based on the California Consumer Price Index.
SB 805 will direct the California Arts Council to establish the California Nonprofit Performing Arts Paymaster, which will provide low-cost payroll and paymaster services to SNPACs. This legislation will establish the Performing Arts Equitable Payroll Fund to ensure that SNPACs can pay all workers minimum wage, particularly workers in marginalized communities.
Small nonprofit theaters are incubators for playwrights, actors, designers, directors and other artists. They have historically provided networking opportunities and mentorship for Black, Indigenous and People of Color artists to facilitate connections necessary for career advancement by providing performance experience that helps to open doors to larger, less accessible companies. Furthermore, SNPACs contribute to the economic growth, social well-being and cultural vitality of the local communities they serve. Learn more at equitablepayrollfund.org
More About Senator Susan Rubio:
Senator Susan Rubio represents Senate District 22 in Los Angeles County. It includes the cities of Alhambra, Arcadia, Azusa, Baldwin Park, Covina, El Monte, Industry, Irwindale, La Puente, Monterey Park, San Gabriel, Rosemead, South El Monte, Temple City and West Covina as well as the unincorporated communities of Avocado Heights, Charter Oak, Citrus, East Pasadena, East San Gabriel, Mayflower Village, North El Monte, South Monrovia Island, South San Gabriel, South San Jose Hills, Valinda, Vincent and West Puente Valley. Learn more at https://sd22.senate.ca.gov