Commentary: Arts funding for all vital to Atlanta
Original Story on WABE by Maria Saporta
The Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund held its annual meeting in December, when it gave away $1 million in grants to 12 arts groups.
The fund has been instrumental in stabilizing Atlanta’s small- and mid-sized arts organizations.
Twenty-two years ago, the Atlanta Arts community was split between the haves and the have-nots. There was the Woodruff Arts Center and then … everyone else.
To balance the scales the Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund was launched in 1993, and to date, it has given out more than $11 million to promote the arts at all levels.
The biggest donor to the fund is the Robert W. Woodruff family of foundations. It recently gave the Arts Fund a nearly $3 million grant.
Each year for the next three years this grant will allow the fund to give $1 million to arts groups to do with as they please. The fund gave away its annual $1 million for 2015 at a December meeting.
Without a doubt, this money has been a life jacket for arts organizations trying to stay afloat during difficult economic times. And that has made the cultural ecosystem of Atlanta more robust, expanding far beyond the Woodruff Arts Center.
Smaller sustainable arts organizations serve as a feeder system to the larger groups – giving artists, actors, musicians and writers an opportunity to develop their craft in Atlanta.
As Woodruff Foundation President Russ Hardin said, “The arts are important to a vibrant, healthy Atlanta.”