Red Alert RESTART lights up Bemidji

Featured graphic: On the left, the Sanford Center, with NLFX Professional’s lighting display on the right. Graphic and photography courtesy of Eric Callagan.

The Sanford Event Center, NLFX Professionals, the Paul Bunyan Playhouse, and smaller music venues such as Steve Ross’s Flying Dog Studio, set up red lights to bring awareness to the struggling arts industry.

The “Red Alert RESTART #WeMakeEvents” was a worldwide event on Tuesday, Sept 1 from 9 p.m. to midnight.

Last week, Bemidji Now interviewed NLFX’s Ben Stowe about the awareness campaign.

Flying Dog Studio in Pennington. Photo courtesy of “Papa” Steve Ross. Ross says the studio has only had himself in it since the pandemic began.

According to the “Be An Arts Hero” Coalition, the arts and culture sector employs 5.1 million people and provides $877 billion value added to the U.S. economy. Due to COVID-19, 62 percent of arts workers are fully unemployed and 94 percent report income loss.

There is bipartisan legislation, the RESTART Act, pending in Congress which may provide some relief to the industry.

Minnesota’s Senator Amy Klobuchar also introduced the “Save our Stages” bill to fund independent venues struggling in the pandemic.


Larissa Donovan is the News Director for the stations of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting and has been, almost without interruption, since Election Day 2016. She covers events and issues in north central Minnesota, which include local government, crime, courts, education, environment and social issues. She studied communications at Bemidji State University and received her degree in 2018. Larissa, native to the great state of New York, grew up in Bemidji, and enjoys spending her spare time with her family and pet cat. She also loves Star Trek, punk rock music and the theater.


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