When the ball dropped in the final moments of 2019 and brought us into the 2020s, many of us lightheartedly welcomed another “roaring ’20s.”

The year 2020 certainly roared, just not in the way we had expected.

While health mandates prompted some to sneak a haircut behind paper-covered windows — a move reminiscent of the Prohibition-era speakeasies from 100 years prior — the performing arts did not see the same boost a century later. The pandemic darkened stages across the nation, leaving only traditional ghostlights to burn for hours on end in empty theater houses.

But now with funding from the Shuttered Venue Operators Grants (SVOG) program through the American Rescue Plan, $16 billion in grants is available for venues that had to close during the pandemic. This, in combination with early relief packages for business, such as the Paycheck Protection Plan, helped keep many beloved theaters from going dark permanently.

This support has been critical, not just for artists whose livelihoods depended upon performing. The arts found at the Bankhead Theater have brought profound culture to the City of Livermore and the entire east Alameda County region. When the show goes on again this summer, in turn, we hope to see the community offer its support by getting vaccinated and getting a ticket.

We have been through a tumultuous, traumatic year, and performing arts can offer some of the medicine we need to start healing. After all, “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”