Blue Waters

The area surrounding the Pablo Center at the Confluence was all lit in blue Thursday evening, April 16, 2020. The change in color was made as part of a nationwide campaign to offer support and gratitude to the people working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 epidemic. The blue colors can be seen on Thursday evenings for the forseeable future. This panoramic image was created by stitching ten photos together. View more photos at LeaderTelegramPhotos.com.

EAU CLAIRE — Several Chippewa Valley entertainment entities received grants Thursday as part of a $15 million state program to support live music and artistic venues through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nine of the 96 total grants, which ranged from small five figures to medium six figures, were awarded to area businesses. Country Jam USA and Chippewa Valley Music Festivals, Inc. both received $395,308, making them two of 14 organizations to receive that amount, the largest awarded.

“These venues have worked to be good partners throughout this process,” said Gov. Tony Evers in a news release. “We hope these funds can provide critical support and stabilization to help them get through until we can all gather safely and enjoy entertainment together again.”

The nine local organizations received grants totaling about $1.83 million. Confluence Council Inc., which operates the Pablo Center at the Confluence, was awarded $362,287.61.

Jason Jon Anderson, executive director of Pablo Center at the Confluence, felt “incredible gratitude” when he received the news. He was also thrilled and satisfied that many other organizations in Wisconsin received funds.

“This grant gives a direct lifeline to so many other venues across the state,” Anderson said.

The six-figure grant awarded to the Confluence Council is a partial replacement for the $2.1 million in lost ticket fund revenue at the Pablo Center since March. Anderson said the money will go toward general operations like building improvements and debt service.

The Florian Gardens Conference Center in Eau Claire received $262,805.11. The Blue Ox Music Festival received $170,209.23. The Plus, The Metro, The Rev and The Venue were awarded a total of $147,670.47.

The Chippewa Valley Cultural Association, Inc. received $35,298.83. The Chippewa Valley Theatre Guild received $34,949.97 Eau Claire Children’s Theatre Eau Claire $29,261.09

The grants were funded by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act and administered through the Wisconsin Department of Administration.

“These grants will hopefully bring a little hope to this industry as we all continue to push for additional action at the federal level to allow them to survive until we can fully embrace live entertainment in a healthy and recovered Wisconsin,” said DOA Secretary Joel Brennan in a news release.

The past several months have been filled with anxiety and stress, but the grant money will make that burden slightly easier.

“The future seems more certain than uncertain,” Anderson said.

The full list of grant recipients is available at tinyurl.com/yy5ld3ol.