By Howard Pousner
Marietta’s Theatre in the Square and Atlanta’s Theatrical Outfit and True Colors Theatre Company will receive grants of $75,000 each from the Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund, the AJC has learned.
The fund is distributing $500,000 to 10 groups as part of its Atlanta Arts Recovery initiative launched last year to help small and midsized nonprofit arts organizations weather the recession. Part of the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, the fund distributed $1 million in two rounds of grants in 2009 (essentially doubling its giving), and plans to do the same this year and in 2011.
In addition to the three theater troupes, other groups receiving general operating support from the fund are: Madison-Morgan Cultural Center, Madison ($67,500), Actor’s Express ($65,000), Dad’s Garage ($50,000), Quinlan Visual Arts Center, Gainesville ($30,000), Atlanta Celebrates Photography ($25,000), Metropolitan Ballet Theatre ($25,000) and Atlanta Chamber Players ($12,500).
The Atlanta Arts Recovery initiative can also be seen as one response to the gap in weak public arts funding in Georgia and Atlanta. The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies ranked Georgia 44th for legislative appropriations to arts in fiscal 2009. That was before the Georgia Council for the Arts, budgeted at $2.32 million this year, was cut to $790,735 for fiscal 2011 in the legislative session that ended last week.
The cut to the state’s agency that distributes arts grants or helps send programming to every Georgia county “puts us in a really perilous position both in terms of the operations of arts organizations, and the ability for arts funding to go throughout the state,” Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund director Lisa Cremin said Wednesday. “It’s been a damaging blow to the reputation of the state.”