13 metro groups receive Atlanta Arts Fund grants

Thirteen small and midsized metro Atlanta arts groups have received grants totaling $500,000 from the Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund, bestowed as general operating support amid a tough economic climate.

The big grantees are Georgia Shakespeare and Horizon Theatre ($75,000 each), but several suburban groups also scored grants, including Arts Clayton ($45,000), Cobb Symphony Orchestra ($50,000), Conyers-Rockdale Council for the Arts ($22,500), Gwinnett Ballet Theatre ($46,000) and Johns Creek Arts Center ($42,000).

Last year, as the recession significantly reduced corporate, foundation and governmental arts funding, the Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund launched the Atlanta Arts Recovery initiative, adding a second round of grants that doubled its annual giving to $1 million.

The grants announced this week are the second round of what was to be the final year of the initiative. But Arts Fund director Lisa Cremin said $1 million will be granted again in 2011 because of ongoing need in the metro arts community. This was made possible by additional donations to the Arts Recovery initiative and a strong investment return on the Arts Fund's endowed funds, she said.

Cremin said the fund isn't intended to rescue groups in crisis but to help ones that are evolving through current challenges.

"We focus on organizations that have an ability to thrive with a grant from the fund," she said. "These organizations are beyond [merely] reacting to the new environment, but adopting [new approaches] and starting to innovate."

Other grantees include Atlanta Printmaker Studio ($10,000), Atlanta Sacred Chorale ($10,000), Moving in the Spirit dance ($35,000), Synchronicity Theatre ($50,000), Théâtre du Rêve ($10,000) and  Youth Ensemble of Atlanta ($29,5000).