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Why arts deserves a cut of the sales tax

Would you vote to support the arts with a one-tenth of a cent of sales tax? I ask this question because there is legislation in the works that could lead to such a referendum.

So why vote for this? Public support of the arts? You probably feel using public funds is fine for law enforcement, fire and emergency service since they physically protect us. But what about the cultural arts?

The answer is something we don’t often link together. Simply put, the arts help protect an area’s economy.

“Cultural arts” is an industry that brings both vitality and economic growth to a area. It alone can literally “flip” a entire community.

Think about it. When there is a thriving cultural arts community, there are also thriving restaurants, hotels, and retail stores.

And let’s not forget that when an area is rich with the arts, property values tend to be higher. Great examples are the Soho in New York, Taos, New Mexico, Cambria, Calif., Savannah, Ga., etc. Plus it is the arts community that gives a city or town its own unique identity. So when it comes to urban sprawl, it becomes a huge factor.

Another interesting statistic is that cultural arts revenues from theater, museums, in Atlanta was three times greater than that of the Falcons plus the Braves combined.

Just the words “cultural arts” often connotes upper-class snootery, but that is not the case at all. There are no ethnic or social boundaries when it comes to the arts. It doesn’t matter what language you speak, or where you came from in order for you to enjoy music and art. It’s a safe place for people to come together and share common loves and interest and most importantly, share ideas.

When it comes to public funding, it’s not just about building grand theaters or art centers or galleries, but the whole monty. All that our diversity has to offer. There is probably no home in the county that doesn’t have one member with an interest in at least one of the following; Dance (Irish, ballet, modern, hip-hop); Theater (plays, monologues, comedy); Music (choral, symphony, western, gospel, rock and roll, bluegrass, folk, etc.); Decorative arts (pottery, jewelry, gourds, baskets, glass blowing, stained glass, quilts, sewing, knitting, etc.); Visual arts (photography, painting, collage, sculpture, animation, graphic art, and website design.

With the schools cutting back, it is essential we preserve these facets of our lives. Plus, they all improve problem solving. critical thinking and right-left brain communication; in other words it is great exercise for the mind.

Just think what Fayette County would be like if there was a district that integrated all these genres. Not only would it vastly improve our quality of life, enhance our minds, but also provide educational access to these specialties for us as well as our children.

So providing financial stimulus for the arts is really providing economic stimulus for the county. With reliable funding, many new jobs can be created, empty buildings filled with activity, tourism increased, our economy jump-started, and people will return. Plus we will have a myriad of choices to fulfill our lives right here in Fayette County.

If you would like to be a part of strengthening the Fayette Art Center, which is now overseeing public art education, please contact me (Visual Arts).

If you are a leader in other forms of the Cultural Arts, please join contact me as well. We need to start forming a comprehensive Arts Coalition.

Kathaleen Brewer

Owner, Artworks on the Square

Executive Director, Fayette Art Center

Fayetteville, Ga.



Efforts to support the arts with taxpayer funds in this economic climate is irresponsible. While creating a balanced budget for my family, I am forced to make decisions that reflect our priorities; ie, food, shelter, clothing, etc. In the meantime, spending money we don't have on discretionary items is not an option. This point can be applied as well to taxpayer support of the arts - discretionary spending should not be considered until the budgets are balanced and necessities funded.

kcchiefandy's picture

...she's WAY off the mark in saying Savannah property values are enriched because of the arts; maybe w/in 10 blocks of River Street, but the rest of the city is an economic cesspool; run-down, violent, and impoverished. If you're not in the tourism & related services field(s), there's not much 'property value' improvement that I have seen! Can't say for those other locales, but seem to remember that they're artist collectives or such. Anyway, I agree, an increase in public support of the arts should not be a priority, at least at this time.

You dont deserve a cut of any tax money that is being stolen from those who work. If you cant make a profit selling what you have then to damn bad. Shut it down. The arts, give me a break. The bottom line is the arts dont make money because folks wont pay to see it. So stop trying to be a parasite like our government is.

[quote]The entire population of Fayette County is considered underserved by the Georgia Council of the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. The latest data claims there are 104,248 people in Fayette County.[/quote]

Many in Fayetteville have visited the art centers in Douglasville and Decatur. We applaud your effort. There are citizens in Fayetteville who support you. It would be nice not to have to leave 'home' in order to enjoy the offerings of an art center in Fayette County. As a retiree, I wish you success in bringing an art center to Fayette County. Many retirees from other states enjoy a six-figure income - and would be willing to support a 1/2-cent tax.

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