MOLINE, Ill. — Quad Cities theaters are feeling the strain from the COVID-19 pandemic, closing down in Illinois under "Tier 3" mitigations.
Driving along I-74 and in downtown Moline, you won't miss the color coming from the Spotlight. But, you might miss what used to be happening inside.
"As an event venue, you strive all the time to sell out," said Brent Tubbs. "Like, we thrive on big crowds."
Tubbs owns the Spotlight Theatre in Moline, along with his wife.
"We’ve tried the virtual route," Tubbs said. "We’ve tried doing things virtually and I think people are kinda getting burnt out by that."
The venue has been closed to shows since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It’s something that can’t be duplicated on a computer screen or a TV screen," Tubbs said. "It’s just, you have to be there."
Tubbs knows other live-event venues in the Quad Cities are hurting, too.
"We’ve always just felt at home with all the theaters around," Tubbs said. "And we love every theater that’s in the area, so I’ve been wanting to do something that’s kinda a unifying thing after we had opened the Spotlight."
That's why he produced this video, with the hashtag "Save The Arts QC." The video featured past show alumni dancing in front of five Quad Cities theaters.
"There was a lot of enthusiasm behind it, which was awesome," Tubbs said.
The video helped showcase the live performance industry, still suffering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Even if tomorrow they said OK you can open well people still have to feel comfortable enough to come out to the theaters," Tubbs said.
But until the spotlights turn on again, they'll perform where they can.
Tubbs said his biggest worry is paying the bills to keep the Spotlight Theatre open when there are no crowds. He said he would like to see Illinois implement a plan to help event venues stay in business, like the plan Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds announced Wednesday.
In Gov. Reynolds' announcement on Wednesday, the state will allocate $7 million in CARES Act funds under the Iowa Arts & Culture Recovery Program. That program would provide grants, ranging from $1,000 to $250,000 for arts and cultural organizations "struggling to make up for reduced admissions, ticket sales, and other revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic," according to a press release.
Applications for funding are available at this web page until December 11.