The end of Georgia Council for the Arts?
In a stunning move, the Georgia House Appropriations Committee has eliminated the Georgia Council for the Arts’ budget, leaving only $250,000 to clear up outstanding debts and payments. While the recommendation still has to be approved by the legislative body before it wraps up the current session, officials at GCA said they could only watch and wait to see what happens. If the legislature votes to defund GCA, Georgia would be the only state and territory in America without an arts agency.
GCA executive director Susan Weiner sent out a desperate plea to arts organizations yesterday urging them to write their legislators to try and stop the move, and a spokesperson for Weiner said hundreds of emails came in yesterday. So what does it mean for the state’s arts organizations that rely on grants from GCA?
Horizon Theatre received more than $15,000 this year to provide services to Georgians, reaching nearly 40,000 individuals with plays and education programs; and employing more than 100 artists, technicians and administrators. Horizon, and many other arts groups, sent an email blast to its supporters and subscribers encouraging them to contact their state representative.
The GCA received $812,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2009, but the state will all claim to future funding if the GCA is eliminated. Small nonprofit arts groups — many which provide programs and education to children — could face closure if the GCA disappears.
We’ll have more on this developing story as we have it.