Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Georgia Senate may rescue the Georgia Council for the Arts
The Georgia Council for the Arts can breathe a little easier. The Senate Appropriations Committee has decided to restore Governor Sonny Perdue’s budget recommendation of $890, 735 for the GCA. This amount is already down from the current budget of $2.52 million, making the GCA one of the most under-funded councils in the nation. Pending a vote of the full Senate, the budget will allow the Council to remain intact and match its federal funding.
This will come as a relief to many who feared that the elimination of the GCA would jeopardize funds allocated by the National Endowment for the Arts. These fears stemmed from the budget passed by the Georgia House on Wednesday. In it, the House calls for the elimination of the GCA, which would make Georgia the only state in the U.S. without an arts agency. Granting funds of nearly $250,000 would then be transferred to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs for administration.
Concerned members of the NEA worry that if the House’s version of the budget were to pass, the Department of Community Affairs would not be able to uphold the NEA Partnership Agreement. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, this agreement requires, among other things, that the “administrating agency be able to implement an NEA-approved state arts plan, make fair funding decisions that consider artistic excellence and merit ‘primarily through a panel process,’ and make the arts accessible to neglected communities” as well as provide a dollar-for-dollar match in state government funding.
Image: City of Atlanta Online