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Sen. John Cornyn returns to Dallas, celebrates new law providing money for live music and performing arts venues

Cornyn authored the new law that provides grants for live music venues, performance arts organizations and theaters.

DALLAS — Texas U.S. Senator John Cornyn returned to Dallas Thursday to celebrate the "Save Our Stages Act."

Cornyn authored the new law that provides grants for live music venues, performance arts organizations and theaters.

“We all want to make sure in life that we can make a difference, and I think today that’s really been brought home to me that we, together, have made a difference,” said Cornyn.

So far, the new law has provided more than $750 million to 672 Texas venues. 

Cornyn heard stories about the pandemic’s impact from several leaders in the arts community. Among the speakers was Debbie Storey, the president and CEO of the AT&T Performing Arts Center. 

“The longer the pandemic went on, the more all of us wondered how we could possibly survive for the length of the pandemic,” Storey said. “We were faced with the decision of whether we would be forced to shut down an iconic, cultural institution for the City of Dallas.”

Edwin Cabaniss is the owner of the Kessler Theater. He shared similar thoughts about the past year. 

“We had already done several sold out shows, already a dozen sold out shows to begin 2020, and then of course March the 15th, everything came to a complete stop,” said Cabaniss. 

The new law allows recipients to use grants for rent, utilities, mortgage obligations, among many other things. 

Musicians and leaders in the arts community are now hopeful about the future of live music and performances. 

“Once the bill passed, it turned despair into hope for so many performing arts centers across the country. It was the only thing that gave us hope that we could survive,” said Storey. 

“It’s nice to be able to look at things like our calendar and be like, ‘alright, I think I’m going to be OK, I think we’re going to be OK’,” said musician Kirk Thurmond.