Tess Malis Kincaid, an actress, director, teacher and arts administrator who has worked at Georgia Ensemble Theatre for 22 years, spoke about how the arts have made a difference.
“Through my years I have seen the community grow to a great place for arts,” she said. “In Roswell, I have seen the area grow from a quiet suburban city to a best-selling, very artsy one.
“As a teacher I have seen the impact on young people. I have seen families and young professionals who choose to move to the area because of the arts. The arts are the heartbeat of the community.”
After the meeting, Chris Escobar, artistic director of Atlanta Film Festival, expressed relief, commenting that Fulton County has benefited organizations not just from delivering funds but also “in the stability of those dollars: being able to count on those dollars not changing drastically year to year helps a lot in terms of being able to plan and think strategically.
“What was encouraging was they kept it level, despite budgetary hardships we all understand. It’s not easy.”
He was also heartened by the increased recognition and awareness and consideration for the arts and for contracts for services.
Eaves’ website stated that county funding exceeds the state’s contribution. The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies reported that Georgia was dead last in the country for funding for fiscal year 2014 and is projected to remain at the bottom for fiscal year 2015. The agency’s Per Capita State Arts Agency Appropriations chart shows neighboring states faring much better — Florida ranks number 4 for funding, with Tennessee 16, Alabama 23 and South Carolina 32.