Thursday, April 15, 2010

Keep Art Alive

I am cooking up a BIG blog post - but if you read yesterday's post, you know I have a BUSY day today. But I promise, over a warm up of coffee, tucked away in my PJs at my parents home I will make it happen. (that's about 12 hours or so from now.)

I am going to write about how the arts and public funded grants shaped my life.

For now, I want to share the inspiration for the post to come!

I posted a story (an op-ed piece) in the Atlanta Journal & Consistution about the Georgia government cutting the Georgia Council for the Arts. Then.. 31 comments and counting.. I want to share the heated debate that took place on my facebook page.


By Collin Kelley, Editor

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.

Okay - now for the comments:

Judy Jackson Wammock- Unbelievable...

Yesterday at 3:27pm · Kristine Brunelle Hudson ..;-(

Yesterday at 4:06pm · Brad Gibbs - About time for some common sense. Now maybe they can end teacher furloughs and put police back on the streets. Why should the taxpayers of Georgia be forced to support artists that can't sell their product on the free market?

10 hours ago · Nicole Thurston Abdou  - BRAD... I don't even have words.

10 hours ago · Nicole Thurston Abdou  - You DO know that "the arts" are not just "starving artists, as you pointed out. That's NOT what the Georgia Council for the Arts does.

10 hours ago · Brad Gibbs Well come up with some! I doubt anywhere in the Georgia Constitution is says anything about funding "the arts."

10 hours ago · Brad Gibbs I'm not against art. We buy art. Expensive art. Guess who makes the decision. ME!

10 hours ago · Judy Jackson Wammock Feeling your pain, Nicole..Sad..:(

10 hours ago · Brad Gibbs Oh, I forgot to mention that I'm a member of (and donor to) the High Museum. Maybe I should have asked the State of Georgia to pay for my membership fee.

10 hours ago · Nicole Thurston Abdou These programs are for education in the schools and to the community. I am sure you appreciate the "expensive" art as you like to call it, because you were exposed to art appreciation in school... which was provided by an art teacher .. who happened to dabble in the arts.. perhaps they got a scholarship to study art from such a council. Also - the arts includes: writers, actors, dancers, musicians... not just "starving artists."

10 hours ago · Jay Jasper Hey Brad, there are several unrecognized jobs in the arts: most colleges have a School of the Arts which employs between 50 and 70 professors. Each professor is paid the same as most most College professors.

I would also add that Georgia has a lottery with proceeds that go toward education. So ARts funding and education in the state of Georgia ...

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are almost completely separate beings. Especially considering the lotto put more than $100 million to scholarships and school systems in the past 5 months. This number will increase this summer when more students try have to use the scholarship money.

Lastly, Georfia is known for having one of the greatest state police systems in the US. Why? Because most of their city councilmen and local legislatures are conservative and put more money into police departments.

10 hours ago · Nicole Thurston Abdou Yes, and I am the daughter of an artist. The sister of a former drama teacher, and a HUGE supporter of all arts organizations. I think it is time that the High museum educate it's donors on why grants programs for the arts is so important. :p Okay.. I will leave it at that, my friend. ;-) BTW - There is a great art show this weekend in macon - you should totally check it out with wife. It's featuring Macon (and it's at the art gallery my mom is the president of.) lol

10 hours ago · Brad Gibbs LOL! I love debating with you! Trust me, that art class at Ballard A contributed ZILCH to my appreciation for art! Unfortunately, we can't make it to Macon this weekend for an art show since we are going to the Dogwood Festival up here to buy art from an artist we see there every year. His name is Kent Ambler and he does some cool woodcuts. Google his website.

10 hours ago · Judy Jackson Wammock Brad, so glad that you are a member of, and generous donor to the High..Why don't you join the human race and donate to it..just sayin...

10 hours ago · Brad Gibbs Last thing, I promise. My premise is that we have to remove ourselves from the mind set that the government is somehow supposed to fund everything. Art should be appreciated by citizens without the gov't forcefully taking money from people and spending it on something that doesn't already have a demand. It is completely arrogant for those in the...

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gov't to assume they know what type of entertainment should be enjoyed by the lowly masses. It IS gov't over-stepping its bounds! Especially now that we are in the red, we have to cut back on unnecessary budget items.

9 hours ago · Heather Thurston Busby FYI if Brad is referring to the Dogwood Festival in Atlanta - one of its sponsors is the Georgia Council for the Arts.

9 hours ago · Judy Jackson Wammock Luv the Dogwood Fest and it's sponsor "Georgia Council for the Arts",,,,

9 hours ago · Nicole Thurston Abdou Good Night all - and Brad - no, Ballard A did not contribute to my "arts" background - but groups like Community Children's Theatre of Macon, Theater Macon, Youth Actors Company, Modern Dance Academy, Gladys Lasky's School of Dance, Dance South and various other workshops did (including "guest artists" in Girl Scouts!) (Not to mention my artistic family)

Ciao folks!

9 hours ago · Heather Thurston Busby Whether or not most people realize it - a good majority of the festivals everyone loves to attend throughout the state are sponsored in part by the Georgia Council through one grant or another. I was the administrator of GCA's Grassroots Arts Program Grant covering thirteen middle Georgia counties for several years and trust me when I say that ...

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they support many worthy projects that would have not been possible without the help from the government. The state legislature may feel like they are doing the right thing now in this cut - but in the end they are cutting the very culture of a community that plays a part in big businesses deciding where they want to settle. Between this and the education cuts - they are simply shooting themselves in the foot.

9 hours ago · Brad Gibbs Judy, I am a contributing member of the human race. I go to work everyday and work hard which is what each of our contribution to society is supposed to be. Also, I don't give a rip if the Georgia Council for the Arts sponsors the Dogwood Festival. The Dogwood Festival would happen with or without the that money. Of course, if it's available, ...

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they will take it, but trust me, I know a lot of the artists that sell at the Dogwood Festival and they make enough at this particular festival that they would pool their money to make it happen. If you think you proved anything, you are wrong.

9 hours ago · Heather Thurston Busby Also, this does come from someone who supports teachers 100% having been one - as well as supporting police officers 100% having been married to one. The support of the arts is as necessary to the survival of a community as any other field.

9 hours ago · Jay Jasper You're right the government shouldn't fund the arts. But, I must say that I was introduced to the arts at a public middle school, and the majority of my scholarship money to college is coming from a school of the arts. This is at a private school. What bounds is the government overstepping? They offer no FEDERAL FINANCIAL AID of the Arts.

We also ...

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must remember the difference between the State Governments and Federal Governments. It would be overstepping the bounds for the federal government to fund the arts. It would be against the ideals of James Madison, who was a heavy Federalist, that is believed that the states should be a BIGGER entity than the nation. Georgia has a VERY conservative state legislation, and is fairly stable economically. Personally I think those go hand and hand.

The federalists who wrote our Constitution would more than support a State government showing support for the arts, because it does not give strength to the federal government. In this case, the growing government is the state government: which has proven its assets well by using conservative economic and social standards to obtain widely successful results. If that government can become more influential to other states, why not let it? ANd the Arts could be the first venue of many in engaging these ideals.

9 hours ago · Brad Gibbs Next time somone breaks into your house, maybe you should just call an artist then. Tell me one community that didn't survive due to lack of art. That was the most absurd thing I've ever read on Facebook.... FACEBOOK!

9 hours ago · Jay Jasper Plus engagement to the Arts in state-funded and state-run public schools is proven to lead to higher SAT/ACT scores, seems to create more prestigous GPA accounts, more school involvement, more discipline, and higher acceptance ratings to college.

9 hours ago · Brad Gibbs Goodnight goofy artsy-fartsy weirdo freaks! LOL, just kiddin! I love all y'all.

9 hours ago · Heather Thurston Busby According to the Atlanta Business Chronicle "Using a conservative set of criteria...[an economic impact] study determined that 380 arts and cultural organizations in the state had a net economic impact of $387 million and contributed more than $18.6 million in tax revenue."

So, from that do we need to do a breakdown on how many of those 370 ...

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organizations are supported either through funding, education programs, or advocacy programs by the Georgia Council for the Arts?

9 hours ago · Jay Jasper Look it up Brad. Read the Federalists Papers. They talk about how state governments were supposed to be more powerful than the national government. Would you not want a more conservative governed state to be more influential in American poilitics?

No the Arts are not used to protect the nation...But neither has a nation existed without the arts. ...

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Go back as far as Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, The Renaissance, The Enlightenment, The Romantic Period, the modern age, arts have always been. The arts always will be.

Also, I recall that one of the many reason Hitler went crazy is that he was denied education of the arts at ingolstad. Of course, Hitler has several other influences that engaged his pain.

9 hours ago · Brad Gibbs Jay, you are right. Art will always exist. Even after the government stops funding it which will prove my point that the government shouldn't have been funding it in the first place. Consumers who demand art should be funding it!

9 hours ago via Email Reply · Mae Thurston Everything you wear, drive, live in etc were designed by artists. Artists are also the first recorders of history.

8 hours ago · Brad Brunelle Instead of cutting things that benefit everyone, like arts and education, maybe they should start with the politicians themselves. For example, the annual budget for the Office of the Governor of Georgia is $50 Million Dollars. Compare that to other states:

Pennsylvania Office of the Governor budget $6 Million.

Washington Office of the Governor budget $5.8 Million

California Office of the Governor budget $16 Million

In addition, the AJC reported yesterday on wasteful per diems in the GA Legislature:

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Corruption, thy name is Georgia.

3 hours ago · Brad Gibbs Please keep in mind that I'm not against art. The discussion is based on how the gov't spends money. I think it's fair to say that if the gov't is essentially out if money, they shouldn't sacrifice teachers and police. Putting a hold on arts funding makes sense right now.

2 hours ago via Email Reply · Nicole Thurston Abdou Brad G - now go out there and buy tons of art this weekend!

There you have it folks.
What are your thoughts on the matter?

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