What cuts in arts support would say about Georgia

Posted on: April 21, 2010

In Wednesday’s (4/21) Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s new president, Stanley E. Romanstein, writes an opinion piece concerning a proposed state budget that would eliminate the Georgia Council for the Arts and severely trim other arts funding: “As our representatives make decisions that will shape our lives and the future of our state, I hope they will look not only to history but also to the horizon. … The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra is [one] of this city’s entrepreneurial visions. The orchestra was founded in 1945 when as a country we were trying to deal with the aftermath of World War II. Yet this city had the foresight to embrace the idea that if Atlanta was to be a regional and national leader, it needed industry, a strong system of public and private education and a vibrant community of individuals and organizations invested in the arts and humanities. Atlanta knew it was time to invest in and plan for the future. That foresight strikes me as the spirit of Atlanta: dealing with the realities of the moment, while planning for, and aspiring toward, greater things for tomorrow. The Legislature’s decision to eliminate the Georgia Council for the Arts doesn’t strike me as being consistent with the character of our city, state or of our aspirations for the future. … The dissolution of the council also delivers a chilling message about the kind of state we want to be, and about the kinds of experiences and opportunities we want for our children. We know from an abundance of research that strong arts education programs in our schools improve academic achievement and increase test score. Serious study of the arts develops creativity and strengthens spatial reasoning skills, improves math and reading abilities. … Let’s tap our aspiration for greatness and make decisions that will position Georgia as a far-sighted leader. Eliminating the Georgia Council for the Arts does neither.”

Posted April 21, 2010