Fulton County awards impressive $2.3 million to 190 artists, organizations

This month the Fulton County Department of Arts & Culture will award $2.3 million to more than 190 recipients comprising individual artists, arts organizations, nonprofits, schools, colleges, universities and municipalities. (Full disclosure: ArtsATL.org received $20,000.)

That is an increase of $1 million over 2021, said David Manuel, who joined the department as director in June 2021.

The awards range from $1,000 to $42,000, with the largest benefiting Center for Puppetry Arts ($42,000), Seven Stages and Rialto Center for the Arts ($40,000 each), Atlanta Shakespeare Company ($38,000), and Alliance Theatre and Ballethnic Dance Company ($36,000 each).

Thirty-three of the recipients were first-time awardees, among them visual artist Charmaine Minniefield, the public art nonprofit Living Walls, Working Title Playwrights, Staibdance and the Music Education Group (MEG). A full list of the awardees is available at fultonarts.org.

Credit: Alyssa Pointer/Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Credit: Alyssa Pointer/Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

The funding falls under the county’s Contracts for Services (CFS) program, which provides unrestricted general operating and project support.

Manuel acknowledges that the arts community was hit particularly hard economically by the COVID-19 lockdown that began in March 2020. That year the department awarded $1 million for COVID-19 relief and a second round of funding for individual artists and creative entrepreneurs who lost jobs because of the pandemic.

This year Manuel says the department went above and beyond to get the word out. “We made a conscious effort to identify and reach out to about 150 artists and arts organizations that had never received Arts & Culture funding before,” he said.

To that end, the department strengthened its social media presence and went to South Fulton, North Fulton and every place in between. “We wanted to see everyone succeed and have a fair opportunity to apply.”

The arts community also showed up consistently at the Board of Commissioners’ public meetings, Manuel said. “The commissioners heard them. That’s the main reason we got additional funding.”

Manuel understands that sustainability for arts organizations involves more than government funding, however. This year his department ran a series of virtual financial literacy and entrepreneurial workshops to help arts organizations develop a strong infrastructure, build an effective board, and handle grants in the most effective way.

On Sept. 15, the department will hold a press conference to announce Fashion, Arts, Culture and Education (FACE), a new initiative designed to celebrate the art of fashion and to inspire and educate high school students about careers they can pursue in the arts. The city of Alpharetta and Clark Atlanta University are among the organizations participating, and Mayor Andre Dickens will speak at a forum for teens.

“We are on the upswing as we come out of COVID,” Manuel said. “We have an opportunity to build something and take it to the next level. We are going to roll up our sleeves and make the effort. We are committed.”

Credit: ArtsATL

Credit: ArtsATL


ArtsATL (www.artsatl.org), is a nonprofit organization that plays a critical role in educating and informing audiences about metro Atlanta’s arts and culture. Founded in 2009, ArtsATL’s goal is to help build a sustainable arts community contributing to the economic and cultural health of the city.

If you have any questions about this partnership or others, please contact Senior Manager of Partnerships Nicole Williams at nicole.williams@ajc.com.