Georgia Council for the Arts at Risk
Many of you have heard this week that the Georgia Council for the Arts, a state government agency that has funded numerous arts organizations in Georgia, is on the brink of annihilation. The current budget for the GCA is 2.52 million dollars. That means countless arts organizations and nonprofits are on the brink of having the carpet pulled from beneath them. Georgia is on its way to having the unique distinction of being the ONLY state in this country without an arts agency. To read more, click here for an article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Many arts related nonprofits have received or currently receive funds from the Georgia Council for the Arts.
There are a few ways to become involved:
We’ve been notified via Facebook that there is a planned rally at the capitol on Monday from 1-3. Click here for more details.
Here is an email we received on the matter:
Immediate Action Required…
Contact your Senators NOW!
|It’s true… The Georgia House of Representatives eliminated Georgia Council for the Arts from the state budget.
Only three things can change this now: the Senate Appropriations Committee, the full Senate vote on the Committee recommendation, and the Conference Committee (leadership of the House and Senate) that resolves differences between their budgets.
We can’t afford to let Georgia Council for the Arts end. It will further decimate the arts across our state.
This weekend these are the ways to make sure your Senator considers your opinion. As a state agency, GCA staff can not lobby. They need your help to stay alive!
- Have all staff and Board members of your organization contact their Senator individually.
- Send an e-mail to your mailing list with a sample message that people can cut and paste into their own e-mail. Include a specific example of the impact your organization has on your community or a program that may be cut if funding is eliminated.
- Put a sample e-mail and the link to locate representatives on your website or Facebook page.
- Contact media in your area. If they need more information, ask them to contact GCA’s Public Relations Manager Jhai James at 404.685.2784 or email@example.com.
- Anyone who knows a Senator should reach out and make direct contact.
- Pass along your concerns to people who are not in the arts industry, but who are impacted by program reductions, such as a Convention & Visitor’s Bureau, Main Street Program, local restaurants, schools, senior centers, etc. Ask these people to also contact their Senator.
- Inform the audience before a performance this weekend; include an insert in your organization programs, brochures and other collateral that explains the budget process and how to contact the Senate.
|HELP US SAVE GCA!
Click here to contact your State Senator.
Here are two reasons members of the House may have voted to kill Georgia Council for the Arts.
First, the Georgia House of Representatives explained their reason for eliminating GCA during the reading of the budget bill; the Georgia Arts Alliance was cited. The bill creating this organization passed in 2008. It will be an organization working towards statewide success in arts education. However,
- Unless Georgia has a vigorous and statewide nonprofit arts industry, there are no organizations to provide arts education or arts-in-education (contracting to schools) programming.
- There are no state funds attached to the Georgia Arts Alliance; if there were, the organization still would not provide support to our state’s nonprofit arts industry.
Second, some state Representatives are excited about HB 1049, the enabling legislation for a local option sales tax (LOST) to support the arts. While HB 1049 could greatly benefits arts organizations in the state’s metropolitan centers, it does not replace GCA for these reasons:
- Most counties do not have sufficient sales tax revenues that would allow this LOST to replace GCA’s grant awards.
- Most counties do not have enough nonprofit arts organizations to meet the threshold for their County Commission to pass this LOST
- Rural and small counties across Georgia have lots of needs, the arts are but one.
- Implementation of this bill requires a county-wide referendum, a costly process for our state’s smaller and rural counties.
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