Several Georgia arts organizations hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic just got a lifeline from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Nineteen organizations across the state were selected by the NEA to each receive $50,000 grants as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) fund. The Georgia groups are part of 855 institutions nationally that were awarded the grants. The NEA is administering a total of $45 million in federal CARES aid directly to arts groups across the country that meet NEA criteria. The grants, however, won’t be awarded in lump sums, said Victoria Hutter, NEA assistant director of public affairs. Instead, awardees can submit requests to “draw down” on their accounts as needed.
“For some, it won’t go far, but for others it may be a lifeline,” Hutter said. “Any support for any organization at this time is going to be very important.”
Theatres, museums, festivals, dance companies and other institutions are in financial jeopardy as the pandemic keeps their doors shuttered and patrons away. Some have turned to free virtual programming in an effort to stay, if not financially viable, at least on the minds of patrons as shutdowns continue. But operating on a shoestring budget with little in reserves is a reality for many arts groups, and some are burning through those funds, furloughing staff or laying them off.
“I have absolute faith we’re going to make it through this. I just don’t know what we’ll look like at the end of this,” said Anthony Rodriguez, producing artistic director and co-founder of the Aurora Theatre in Lawrenceville.
The NEA received 3,100 applications for this round of grants. In April, the agency awarded about $30 million in similar funds to nine state and regional arts agencies. Those entities, including the Georgia Arts Council, will use the money for their own granting programs, Hutter said.
The 19 Georgia awardees include: AthFest, Inc., Athens; ROOTS, Atlanta; Atlanta Opera; Burnaway Inc., Atlanta; Atlanta Film Society, Atlanta; Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta; Robert W. Woodruff Arts Center, Atlanta; True Colors Theatre Company, Atlanta; Jessye Norman School of the Arts, Augusta; Out on Film, Avondale Estates; The Columbus Museum, Columbus; LaGrange Symphony Orchestra, LaGrange; Aurora Theatre, Lawrenceville; Colquitt County Arts Council Inc., Moultrie; Serenbe Institute for Art, Culture and the Environment, Palmetto; Hambridge Center for Creative Arts & Science, Rabun Gap; Savannah Music Festival, Savannah; Paradise Garden, Summerville; and Elm Street Cultural Arts Village, Woodstock.
To read the original article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, click HERE.