Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Arts Agency Executive Director to Discuss Proposed Elimination

Hundreds of artists and supporters protest proposed cuts in arts funding at the Georgia State Capitol in downtown Atlanta. The House Appropriations Committee voted to eliminate the Georgia Council for the Arts budget for FY 2011. Protesters say this could mean that Georgia will be the only state and territory that will have no state arts agency. For more pictures from yesterdays march, click here.

ATLANTA - Georgia Council for the Arts Executive Director Susan Weiner will appear on Lawmakers, a news production of Georgia Public Broadcasting. The segment was taped Monday morning and will air Tuesday, April 20 at 7:00 P.M. During an on-air interview Weiner addresses the pending elimination of Georgia Council for the Arts from the State budget.

Last week, the House of Representatives passed their FY2011 budget which includes eliminating Georgia Council for the Arts (GCA). Remaining grant funds would be transferred to the Department of Community Affairs, leaving Georgia the only state or territory in the nation without an arts agency. Rationale given for the House action was that GCA is a "duplicative agency" that could be replaced by the Georgia Arts Alliance, created by the Legislature in 2008, and another non-arts related state agency.

Weiner provided several reasons during the interview why this is not feasible. "GCA receives the National Endowment for the Arts State Partnership Grant with a value of almost $900,000 as well as additional funding from regional arts agency South Arts of $200,000," she said. "These grants require receipt by a state entity with a mission and programming that is dedicated to the arts. Neither the Georgia Arts Alliance nor the Department of Community Affairs fulfills these requirements. Georgia stands to lose more than one-million dollars in national and regional funding if this agency is eliminated."

Facts discussed during the interview also include the impact of the arts on the state's economy. According to a recent study conducted by Price-Waterhouse Coopers, 380 arts and cultural organizations in the state had a net impact of $387 million and contributed more than $18.6 million in tax revenue.

Lawmakers has covered the Georgia General Assembly for more that forty seasons and airs every night the Assembly convenes. The program can be viewed on any of Georgia Public Broadcasting's nine network affiliate stations.

Georgia Council for the Arts is the state agency that provides support for nonprofit arts organizations in Georgia. Established in 1965 as the Georgia Commission on the Arts, its mission is to encourage excellence in the arts, support the arts' many forms of expression and create access to the arts for all Georgians by providing funding, leadership, programming and other services. Funding for Georgia Council for the Arts is provided by appropriations from the Georgia General Assembly, the National Endowment for the Arts and other public and private sources.

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