(Media release from the Georgia Council for the Arts):

Georgia Council for the Arts, a strategic arm of the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD), on Monday announced that more than $3.5 million in competitive grant funding will be distributed to recipients across the state as part of its Bridge, Project, and Arts Education grants. A total of 269 grants were awarded as part of the state’s initial disbursement for fiscal year 2024, which began on July 1. A complete list of first-round fiscal year 2024 grantees can be found here

The Bridge Grant will provide funding for operating support to 162 nonprofit arts organizations, many of which may have been negatively affected by COVID-19. The Project Grant will help fund 44 single art projects, which may include an art exhibit, a theatre production, a series of children’s workshops, an artist residency, or may be used for capacity building projects, such as developing a strategic plan, creating a development plan, or providing professional development. The Arts Education Program Grant will be distributed to 63 organizations to support the arts in K-12 education, and may include a variety of disciplines, from visual art to music or theatre, to dance and creative writing.  

“Across our state, Georgia’s vibrant arts organizations encourage a sense of community and global connectivity through experiences and cultural expression that also enhance our downtowns and support small businesses,” said Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Pat Wilson. “Further, they provide opportunities for students who will become the core creative workforce sought by Georgia businesses from technology companies to electrical engineers. These awards will help organizations statewide continue to advance a high quality of life for Georgians, and we look forward to the benefits they will provide.” 

Examples of uses of programs or organizations receiving grants include Wilkes County’s Bartram Trail Regional Library System, which will use a Project Grant to provide monthly art and craft workshops for over 2500 children and 1100 adults through its “A Year of Art” program, and in DeKalb County. Marcus Jewish Community Center will use its Project Grant for Jerry’s Habima Theatre program, through which adult actors with special needs annually present a musical theatre production together with professionally trained and experienced actors, designers, and directors from the community. 

Arts Education Grants will be used for a variety of activities. Paint Love in DeKalb County will train artists to lead programming that will serve over 1,000 high school students who have experienced childhood trauma. In White County, the Sautee Nacoochee Community Association will use its grant for their Celebrate the Arts festival featuring performers with disabilities for students in grades 3-6.   

Funds awarded by Georgia Council for the Arts include appropriations from the Georgia General Assembly, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the American Rescue Plan (ARP). Grant recipients include theaters, dance companies, museums, schools, cities, colleges, and multi-discipline arts entities. Additional grants for Vibrant Communities and Cultural Facilities programs will be awarded in fall 2024.  

“These vital funds bring life into communities all across the state. Music, theatre, dance, and visual art attract tourists, bring community members together, teach children self-confidence, revitalize downtowns, and more,” said Georgia Council for the Arts Executive Director Tina Lilly. “Through this program, GCA is able to support vibrant communities where people want to live and businesses want to locate.” 

Georgia Council for the Arts (GCA) used Peer Review Panels to judge and review the eligible applications received. Following standard practices set by the National Endowment for the Arts, the panelists are made up of GCA Council members, fellow professionals who are experienced in the arts discipline or type of grant being reviewed, and citizens with a record of arts activities, experience, and knowledge.  

According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, arts and cultural production in Georgia account for $29.2 billion in the state, totaling 4.2% of Georgia’s economy, and accounting for more than 149,000 jobs.  

Rome Little Theatre, the Historic DeSoto Theatre Foundation, and the Rome Symphony Orchestra were all chosen as FY24 Bridge Grant recipients.

Among the FY24 Arts Education Program Grant recipients – RLT, the Rome International Film Festival, and Paradise Garden in Chattooga County.