Mon., October 31, 2011 5:33pm (EDT)

Arts Council Regroups
By Jeanne Bonner
Updated: 3 years ago

ATLANTA  —  
This work by Sol LeWitt occupies a plot of land in Atlanta's Old Fourth Ward neighborhood. Gov. Nathan Deal says the arts contribute to a community's quality of life, and that's becoming more important to companies considering a relocation to Georgia. But the Georgia Council for the Arts continues to adjust to an increasingly smaller budget. Its funding is down about $2 million from 2009-2010 and down about $4 million from 2002. (Photo credit: Jeanne Bonner).
This work by Sol LeWitt occupies a plot of land in Atlanta's Old Fourth Ward neighborhood. Gov. Nathan Deal says the arts contribute to a community's quality of life, and that's becoming more important to companies considering a relocation to Georgia. But the Georgia Council for the Arts continues to adjust to an increasingly smaller budget. Its funding is down about $2 million from 2009-2010 and down about $4 million from 2002. (Photo credit: Jeanne Bonner).
The Georgia Council for the Arts launched a nine-month strategic planning process Monday. The council is adjusting to a smaller budget and a new home.

The strategic planning effort began with the first of seven art forums to be held around the state. Atlanta arts professionals brainstormed about the council’s priorities and how to execute them with less money.

Earlier this year, Gov. Nathan Deal signed a law moving the council into the state Department of Economic Development. And speaking at the forum, he said the arts are becoming a tool in recruiting companies to Georgia.

“More and more, what we’re hearing is, ‘What is the quality life in the community where we are going to be located?’ And the arts are an important ingredient in that quality of life,” he told the group.

Deal says communities that recognize this will have an edge in luring development.

The council received about a half-million dollars from the state this year. That’s down nearly 90 percent from a decade ago. Deal said it’s unlikely its budget will expand much next year.

The council's director, Karen Paty, says it was time to create a new vision for Georgia arts. But she says the council’s smaller budget and new home within the state’s economic development department gave the agency greater impetus to map the future.

“It was even more important for us to do it because of the new placement within the department of economic development," she said in an interview. "It was time because the budget is what is right now. It was time because we need to start thinking about partnerships.”

The council will also hold forums in Macon, Columbus and Savannah.