The Georgia Council for the Arts isn’t the only cultural agency positioned for an 11th-hour funding reprieve from the Legislature.
The Georgia Humanities Council, whose state funding was slated for elimination in Gov. Sonny Perdue’s proposed fiscal 2011 budget, is now prepared to get $50,000 from the state. That’s a pebble in the pond of the state’s $17.8 billion budget, but it allows the private, nonprofit Humanities Council to leverage state funds with federal and private dollars.
The council’s 2010 budget is $1.4 million, 67 percent of it coming from the National Endowment for the Humanities and other federal sources. After its $139,000 appropriation for this year was amended, it’s is receiving $104,237 from the state. The $50,000 in funding for 2011 approved by a conference committee of House and Senate members Thursday represents a cut of more than half from Georgia in one year.
Still, council president Jamil S. Zainaldin called the support “a victory, as the prospect loomed of losing it all.”
“Legislators were surprised at just how much local support there was for our programs, which fundamentally are educational and for the public,” Zainaldin said.
Like the $890,735 in funding restored to the Georgia Council for the Arts by the Senate Appropriations Committee this week, the $50,000 for the Georgia Humanities Council must still get approval from a conference committee as well as the House and Senate before going to the governor.
All the humanities council’s state funding, along with some federal funding, goes to schools and community groups for cultural and history programming via a competitive, peer-reviewed grant process. Some of the funds support council projects, including the online New Georgia Encyclopedia and the National History Day competition in Georgia schools. The council also circulates Smithsonian-developed exhibitions to rural communities.