The Chicago-based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has announced the creation of a fund to help small arts groups in Chicago obtain the city's Performing Arts Venue (PAV) license.
Most venues in the city with fewer than five hundred seats are required to have the license, and all facilities must meet building and fire codes. Many small theater companies lack the funds to carry out needed improvements, however. The fund, to be administered by the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, will enable arts groups in the city to retain experienced architects and consultants to navigate the complicated system of obtaining building permits and undertake small renovations and repairs needed to meet code.
About one hundred and fifty organizations are eligible for the grants, including all current and recent grantees of the Driehaus Foundation's Small Theater and Dance Funding program as well as the MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at both the Driehaus Foundation and the Prince Charitable Trusts. Up to twenty-five organizations with budgets of less than $2 million will be selected to receive $5,000 for on-site inspections by an architect, a review of inspectors' reports, and help with required architectural drawings. Many of the organizations will also be eligible for an additional $25,000 for use in obtaining permits and undertaking construction necessary to apply for a PAV license.
"We have heard from small arts organizations across Chicago that the availability and affordability of space is a major concern," said MacArthur Foundation president Jonathan F. Fanton. "This fund will not only allow organizations to upgrade and license their facilities, but will also improve the comfort and safety of their staff and audiences."