Now, the local arts council will not have to make a series of severe cuts officials were anticipating.
Greg Williams, the new president of the Douglas arts council’s board, called the award a “wonderful, basically unexpected surprise.”
“Because GCA funding had become so limited, we had not anticipated receiving state funding this year,” said Williams, who began his term in June. “We knew we had a good track record with state arts funders, but we also understood this granting would be very competitive.”
The Georgia council award was part of almost $1 million the Georgia council was to give organizations statewide this fiscal year for operating support in the form of partner grants, or for arts projects in the form of project grants.
The state council used money from the Georgia General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts to make the grants to 66 organizations statewide.
The state council formerly gave the Cultural Arts Council of Douglasville and Douglas County about $28,000 annually to supplement its $300,000 budget, said Douglas Council Executive Director Laura Lieberman.
However, that amount shrank to $8,000 in 2012 as the Georgia council’s total grant funds dropped from $5 million to $500,000 in recent years, she said.
The Douglas arts council was considering some major cuts to programming, Lieberman said. It currently offers a variety of programs, ranging from schoolchildren’s art displays to outdoor concerts.
“Everything was on the block,” Lieberman said.
She noted the Douglas arts council, with a full-time staff of three, was competing with at least 600 arts organizations statewide for the money.
“We just are really delighted,” Lieberman said.