As with many states across the country, lawmakers in Georgia are facing a big budget shortfall. One of their proposals to help close the gap would eliminate the Georgia Council for the Arts, which supports the arts statewide.
Across the board, programs in schools and communities--some in remote rural areas--would cease. Nearly a million dollars in federal funding could be in jeopardy as well, because the state arts council acts as a clearing house for those funds.
Yesterday, we posed a question about whether state funded arts institutions have a responsibility to present great art regardless of whether it sells tickets. Today the question is, "should government be funding the arts at all?" Does a government have a moral obligation to do more than pave roads and run jails? Is culture important enough in the life of a community to insist that taxpayer dollars help pay for it?
To learn more, read The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's story Hundreds Rally to Protest Arts Funding Cuts.
UPDATE: Yesterday, the Georgia House of Representatives restored part of the Georgia Council for the Arts' budget. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the allocation will be "a steep cut" from the 2.5 million dollars it received last year, but the agency will remain intact and be able to benefit from federal funding.