Welland’s Black Sheep Lounge starts fund for local artists

Musicians, poets and artists helped build Lucas Spinosa’s The Black Sheep Lounge and now the Welland man wants to pay them back as they struggle through the COVID-19 pandemic.

This week, he launched the Black Sheep Artist Fund hoping to raise $2,500. Spinosa is putting in $1,100 of his own money, to bring the grand total to $3,600. https://fundly.com/black-sheep-artist-fund

“It will help the artists get paid for the work they are doing. We’re going to have weekly live streaming concerts,” said Spinosa.

While Welland’s Jessica Wilson will be the first to perform this Friday, artist Dan Kozina will be paid from the fund for the giant mural he’s currently painting on the front of the Niagara Street coffee shop.

Spinosa said the idea came about after he spoke with local artists, musicians and poets, people who usually perform at his business, about how they were making out during the pandemic, unable to perform with venues shut down across Niagara.

“Some qualified for the CERB (Canada Emergency Response Benefit) and others didn’t … leaving people short of what they need to pay their bills.”

Since being launched, the fund has so far generated $590 in donations and Spinosa wants to spread the wealth as much as possible to artists and performers in Welland and across Niagara.

Wilson will take to the stage Friday at The Black Sheep Lounge and perform an acoustic set from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Her performance will be streamed on the businesses Facebook page — www.facebook.com/BlackSheepWelland/.

Spinosa said people can contribute to the fund while Wilson is performing.

As for his business, Spinosa kept it closed for two months to keep his staff safe due to the close quarters inside the kitchen and behind the bar.

“With my girlfriend being a nurse we knew how important it was to help flatten the curve.”

He reopened earlier this month, selling coffee beans and drinks through takeout, curbside service and delivery.

“We’re opening slowly,” he said, adding the next phase will see takeout food offered.

Story Courtesy of Welland Tribune

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