CORONAVIRUS/Ministry of Culture to launch new phase of aid program for artists

Taipei,  The Ministry of Culture said it will begin accepting new applications for financial aid Thursday from those involved in the cultural sector hurt by the COVID-19 outbreak after granting NT$636 million (US$21.28 million) in funds since mid-March.

According to the ministry, it received 7,874 applications for aid from companies and individuals involved in the performing arts and cultural sectors before the initial phase of the program’s April 10 deadline, and had approved 4,231 of them as of Monday.

Some of the applicants have received their grants under the scheme, though the ministry did not say how much had been disbursed.

The program originally made available up to NT$1.5 billion in aid, and reviews of all applications submitted during that period are expected to be completed before May.

For the next phase, in which the program’s overall funding has been increased to NT$5.22 billion, applications can be submitted starting Thursday, the ministry said.

Meanwhile, the National Theater and Concert Hall (NTCH) ticketing system, said Monday holders of tickets for canceled events can donate the money paid for the tickets to the events’ organizers and artists rather than getting a refund.

Under what the NTCH described as a “rainy day” scheme, ticket holders can choose to donate the amount they paid for the tickets through the ticketing service within the first five working days after a cancellation has been announced.

After the five working-day period, ticket holders will get refunds.

According to the NTCH, 739 performances were canceled and 144 performances were postponed in Taiwan between Feb. 1 and April 27.

Meanwhile, the Spring River Performing Arts Troupe, which canceled its performances at the National Theater in Taipei late May and in Kaohsiung on June 13, is resorting to other measures after their schedule was disrupted by the ongoing pandemic.

The theater group said Wednesday it has put costumes from its recent productions up for auction online to raise money and is planning to produce programs to be uploaded to the internet in the future.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel

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