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Ga. advocacy groups call for state to increase arts funding

By Howard Pousner / hpousner@ajc.com

Two Georgia arts advocacy organizations, ArtsGeorgia and the Georgia Arts Network, have jointly drafted a declaration encouraging support of an increase in state funding for the arts for fiscal year 2015.

The document notes that the Georgia Council for the Arts’ budget has been cut from $4 million in 2008 to $586,466 today, placing the state at the bottom nationally in per capita arts support.

Here’s the full text of the declaration:

CALL FOR AN INCREASE IN STATE ARTS FUNDING

The Georgia Council for the Arts budget was severely cut in 2008 from $4 Million Dollars to its current level of $586,466. This has resulted in a significant reduction in the available programs and services that the GCA is able to deliver to the arts industry in Georgia. The current budget profoundly limits the grants program, leaving some of Georgia’s valuable arts organizations without well-deserved and much-needed support. It caused Georgia to be ranked 50th in the country in per capita spending and adversely affects an industry that employs over 200,000 Georgians. As a consequence, many of the community-based and fine arts organizations, large and small, throughout the state, struggle to continue serving their audiences and their communities. We call on Governor Deal and the General Assembly to include an increase in state arts funding in support of the arts industry as a jobs sector and its significant impact throughout Georgia.”

Information on the economic impact of the arts, the number of jobs affected and the value of arts in education which support our call for an increase can be found in the SouthArts publication, Creative Industries in the South (Georgia)(2012), the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices publication, New Engines of Growth: Five Roles For Arts, Culture and Design (2012), and the National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, Arts Education in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools 1999-2000 and 2009-10.

Respectfully submitted as a Joint Statement by ArtsGeorgia and the Georgia Arts Network and joined by the Georgia Association of Museums and Galleries.

The two groups encourage organizations or individuals wishing to join in supporting the call for an increase in state arts funding for fiscal 2015 to contact the Georgia Arts Network at advocacy@gaartsnetwork.org or ArtsGeorgia at artsga@artsgeorgia.org.

3 comments Add your comment

Picasso

October 30th, 2013
11:12 pm

When did funding the arts become the job of government? If art was so important it would find ways to fund itself–correct. Sounds like another liberal entitlement scheme to me.

BPJ

November 1st, 2013
11:06 am

Markets are wonderful things, but markets by themselves do not provide everything necessary for a good life or a great city. The states we compete with understand the importance of the arts and fund them accordingly, which is why Georgia ranks last per capita in arts support. Let’s catch up with our neighbors such as North Carolina and Tennessee.

BG

November 2nd, 2013
7:14 am

The arts are an important policy asset and prosperity generator for states. In addition to their inherent value to society, the arts offer a distinctive blend of benefits, including:

ECONOMIC DRIVERS: The arts create jobs and produce tax revenue. A strong arts sector is an economic asset that stimulates business activity, attracts tourism revenue, retains a high quality work force and stabilizes property values. The arts have been shown to be a successful and sustainable strategy for revitalizing rural areas, inner cities and populations struggling with poverty.

EDUCATIONAL ASSETS: The arts foster young imaginations and facilitate children’s success in school. They provide the critical thinking, communications and innovation skills essential to a productive 21st-century work force.

CIVIC CATALYSTS: The arts create a welcoming sense of place and a desirable quality of life. The arts also support a strong democracy, engaging citizens in civic discourse, dramatizing important issues and encouraging collective problem solving.

CULTURAL LEGACIES: The arts preserve unique culture and heritage, passing a state’s precious cultural character and traditions along to future generations.