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Cultural associations in Basel place their hopes in crowdfunding

The association of the cultural venues Parterre One and Atlantis is collecting $79,500 (77,000 francs) to compensate for losses due to the coronavirus. The long-time patron no longer covers the deficit. Cultural events will be the last economic sector to be released from the corona lockdown. Government and experts have made this clear. The result: holes in the coffers of event organizers.

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This picture show a group of people in a concert.

In the well-known Basel cultural venues Parterre One and Atlantis, over 100 concerts and events will have to be canceled. The damage amounts to more than $309,800 (300,000 francs). Now the organizers want to collect about $79,500 (77000 francs) through crowdfunding on the platform “wemakeit”. Since the launch of their campaign, at the beginning of April, a quarter of this sum has been collected, a total of over $20,650 (20,000 francs).

“We are delighted with the response so far, especially as many people are experiencing financial difficulties themselves because of Corona or are on short-time work,” said Lawrence Pawelzik, who manages the cultural section of the two venues belonging to the ground floor group. “This shows how important a high-quality cultural offering is to the people of Basel.”

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Patron no longer finances the cultural association

What is not in the description of the crowdfunding campaign, is that the Corona crisis comes at an already very inopportune time for both institutions. Since last summer, it has been clear that the long-time patron, who until now financed the loss-making cultural association on the ground floor, will no longer do so, confirmed Silvan Meyer, Head of Marketing.

This is about the independent, non-profit association “Förderkreis Kultur- und Sozialprojekte” (Foer). It acts as the organizer of the events in the two venues and receives the entrance fees. The catering revenues go to the Parterre Group. The association is now also a beneficiary of crowdfunding. “For the last year, the profit-oriented Parterre Group made advance payments to the association and covered the deficit,” said Meyer.

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However, this is not a permanent state of affairs. Therefore, sponsors and patrons should be found this year to finance the cultural activities. “Due to the corona crisis, however, the search is effectively on hold, which is why we have to compensate for this with crowdfunding. That’s the “real root cause” of our crowdfunding campaign,” Meyer said.

Pawelzik said that the financial situation of the cultural offerings in Atlantis and Ground Floor One is “not fatal” – not yet. Because he assumes that events will be possible again from September. Many of the concerts affected by Corona were postponed during this time. Should there be a second wave – which virologists are currently warning against – it would be “life-threatening” added Pawelzik.

Crowdfunding money and government aid might help the associations survive the crisis

It is already clear: “If we do not achieve the funding goal, we will have to look over the books and see what else is possible with the cultural projects on Ground Floor One and in Atlantis.”

The nine permanent employees and around 20 temporary staff from the cultural team of the two venues are almost all on short-time work. The money from crowdfunding is intended to supplement what the cultural institutions receive from the Basel government.

The government recently allocated $10.3 million (10 million francs) in compensation for loss of earnings for non-profit cultural enterprises. Every single cost receipt must be submitted for every concert: for example, the fees for artists or hotel bookings. “We are currently writing the applications. If we get what we expect to be paid, together with successful crowdfunding and short-time work, that is just barely enough,” concluded Pawelzik.

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(Featured image by Yvette de Wit via Unsplash)

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Suzanne Mitchell juggles the busy life of a full-time mom and entrepreneur while also being a writer-at-large for several business publications. Her work mostly covers the financial sector, including traditional and alternative investing. She shares reports and analyses on the real estate, fintech and cryptocurrency markets. She also likes to write about the health and biotech industry, in particular its intersection with clean water and cannabis. It is one of her goals to always share things of interest to women who want to make their mark in the world.