NEA selects arts groups for emergency aid

19 Georgia organizations each will receive $50,000 grants.

Several Georgia arts organizations hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, just got a lifeline from the National Endowment from the Arts.

Nineteen organizations across the state were selected by the NEA to each receive $50,000 grants as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) fund. The Georgia groups is part of 855 institutions nationally that were awarded the grants. The NEA is administering a total of $45 million in federal CARES aid directly to arts groups across the country that met NEA critieria. The grants, however, won’t be awarded in lump sums, said Victoria Hutter, NEA assistant director of public affairs. Instead, awardees can submit requests to “draw down” on their accounts as needed.

“For some, it won’t go far, but for others it maybe a lifeline,” Hutter said. “Any support for any organization at this time is going to be a very important.”

Theatres, museums, festivals, dance companies and other institutions are in financial jeopardy as the pandemic keeps their doors shuttered ans patrons away. Some have turned to free, virtual programming in an effort to stay, if not financially viable, at least on the minds of patrons as shutdowns continue. But operating on a shoestring budget with little in reserves is a reality for many arts groups, and some are burning through them or furloughing or laying off staff.

“I have absolute faith we’re going to make it through this, I just don’t know what we’ll look like at the end of this,” said Anthony Rodriguez, producing artistic director and co-founder of the Aurora Theatre in Lawrenceville.

The NEA received 3,100 applications for this round of grants. In April, the agency awarded about $30 million in similar funds to nine state and regional arts agencies. Those entities, including the Georgia Arts Council, will use the money for their own granting programs, Hutter said.

The 19 Georgia awardees include:

AthFest, Inc., Athens

ROOTS, Atlanta

Atlanta Opera

Burnaway Inc., Atlanta

Atlanta Film Society, Atlanta

Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta

Robert W. Woodruff Arts Center (on behalf of High Museum of Art), Atlanta

True Colors Theatre Company, Atlanta

Jessye Norman School of the Arts, Augusta

Out on Film, Avondale Estates

The Columbus Museum, Columbus

LaGrange Symphony Orchestra, LaGrange

Aurora Theatre, Lawrenceville

Colquitt County Arts Council, Inc., Moultrie

Serenbe Institute for Art, Culture and the Environment, Palmetto

Hambidge Center for Creative Arts & Science, Rabun Gap

Savannah Music Festival, Savannah

Paradise Garden, Summerville

Elm Street Cultural Arts Village, Woodstock