Georgia Senate budget writers restored $890,000 in state funding to save the Georgia Council for the Arts on Tuesday after it was completely erased from the 2011 budget proposal in the House. If the council were eliminated, Georgia would have been the only state in the country without a statewide arts agency.
Georgia lawmakers have been trying to find any possible savings in state spending to come up with a sustainable 2011 budget. The drops in revenue across Georgia in the past two years forced cuts in areas such as public safety, education, transportation and healthcare.
On Monday, hundreds of artists and their supporters rallied around Georgia General Assembly to put some pressure on the legislators.
“The council [is] ‘a necessary partner and catalyst in the nonprofit and public arts economy [that] leverages federal, regional, state and local resources, both public and private’ while supporting arts programming across the state,” said a resolution crafted by local arts supporters and organizations.
Apparently it worked, although not all the funding was restored; the local arts organizations still lost about $1.7 million in state grants.
Wednesday, Senate is expected to take up the budget issue, which has already extended the legislative session by one week. After that, the legislators will have to iron out the differences with the blueprint that came out of the House.