Americans for the Arts survey finds arts organizations in Georgia lost more than $16 million due to pandemic
MACON, Georgia — Georgia Senators Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff have secured $900,000 to help theaters and nonprofits across the state recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. One such non-profit organization is the Macon Arts Alliance.
Funding comes from the American Rescue Plan adopted last March.
According to an Americans for the Arts survey, arts organizations in Georgia have suffered losses of more than $16 million from the pandemic, and that includes the Macon Arts Alliance.
Julie Wilkerson is the Executive Director of Macon Arts Alliance.
“At the start of the pandemic, we closed for the month of April,” Wilkerson said.
She says they had no curator for all of 2020.
“This position is very important. A lot of what she does is go out and find new artists, who are in the community that we want to showcase, that we want people to meet, ‘Hey, that’ is a really cool guy doing really cool stuff,” Wilkerson said.
At the height of the pandemic, Macon Arts Alliance had to cancel its biggest fundraiser, Fired Works. It is one of the largest exhibitions of this type in Georgia. It includes 40 to 50 ceramic artists and attracts around 1,500 people.
JR Olive, the director of the project, says they want to “Foster support for the arts, and the way you do that is to bring people in and expose them to that kind of work.”
The Fired Works exhibit also brings in around $70,000 in art sales.
“When we say ‘fundraising,’ we’re selling other artists’ work, and that’s how they make a living,” Olive said.
But the mission of the Arts Alliance extends beyond the artist and extends to the community.
“We’ve done a lot of work in east Macon. We’re starting to work in the Bloomfield area. Creativity can be used to help kids stay out of trouble, give them a positive self-image, prevent violence.”, said Wilkerson, “Help children realize their inner creative selves. I think any form of creativity is important and can help build your self-esteem.”
Funding for the Macon Arts Alliance Gallery will go primarily to the position of curator and associated operating and marketing expenses for two years.
This month, the Arts Alliance is hosting a Black History Showcase. Special gallery exhibitions are open every first Friday and feature established and emerging artists working in a variety of media.