Press release from Asheville Community Theatre:
Theatre organizations in Asheville are collaborating to encourage elected officials to extend unemployment assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Stephanie Hickling Beckman, Founder and Managing Artistic Director of Different Strokes! Performing Arts Collective, and Chanda Calentine, Artistic Director of Asheville Community Theatre, are organizing two “Stand in Solidarity” photo shoots to address the need for extended unemployment benefits for artists and employees of arts organizations affected in WNC. With help from John Russell, Executive Director of Montford Park Players, two photo sessions have been scheduled at the Hazel Robinson Amphitheatre on Saturday, October 17, 2020 at 12:00 pm and Monday, October 19, 2020 at 5:30 pm.
“The idea is to gather up to 100 people per session to stand together to show our elected officials that we need funding for our organizations and extended unemployment benefits,” said Calentine. “We will have photographers at each event. We are inviting anyone in the WNC arts community whose employment has been affected by COVID-19 or who believes that funding should be extended for arts organizations and venues that are unable to open to join us for one of these events. Everyone will be masked and socially distant from each other.”
Local photographers Myriah Wood, Misha Schmiedecke, and Peter Brezny will be photographing the sessions.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), established by the CARES Act, temporarily expands unemployment insurance eligibility to self-employed workers, freelancers, independent contractors, and part-time workers.
For more information about expanding unemployment assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit ExtendPUA.org.