Arts groups get grant boost

Atlanta arts and culture nonprofits this year will receive some of the biggest grants ever given by the Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund. The grants will be announced at the arts fund's annual luncheon Wednesday.

The innovative theater company 7 Stages, based in Little Five Points, is at the top of the list, with $150,000 to hire a full-time director of grants and strategies for three years. That is one of the two biggest grants in the arts fund's 15-year history: The Atlanta Contemporary Art Center received the same amount in 2003.

A consultant to the arts fund recommended giving larger grants for staffing to put the groups on firmer footing, director Lisa Cremin said.

Other 2008 recipients are:

William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum (a first-time recipient); $35,000 to pay for a part-time application specialist to prepare for accreditation from the American Association of Museums.

Hammonds House Museum, which focuses on African-American visual arts; $90,000 over three years to create a part-time membership and volunteer manager staff position.

Image Film & Video; $145,000 over three years to replace lost revenue during an organizational restructuring.

Atlanta Lyric Theatre; $50,000 to fund debt reduction.

Michael O'Neal Singers; $30,000 to create a working capital reserve.

The arts fund, a partnership between the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, gives yearly grants to nonprofit arts and culture groups with annual operating budgets under $1.5 million. The grants are designed to support the business side of their operations, whether it's hiring staff or reducing debt.

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