Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Shame on Georgia (the state not the country)

Editor Susan Elliott of Musical America has written a succint scolding on the Georgia legislature, and her message is worthy of reprinting; so here it is:

Shame on You, Georgia Politicos
By Susan Elliott
April 20, 2010

As reported here last week, the State of Georgia’s House of Representatives has voted to eliminate the Georgia Council for the Arts and its annual budget, which has already been slashed from $2.52 million to $890,735. Save for Congressman John Lewis, and State Senator Vincent Fort, Georgia is Republican run, and most certainly Republican owned.

Having lived in Atlanta for 14 years until returning home to Manhattan three years ago, I can attest to Georgia’s guiding Red Neck mentality: “the arts promote imagination and creativity and are therefore bad for our children, especially with all those homosexuals in high places.”

It has been nearly two decades since Cobb County withdrew its funding from the Circle in the Square Theater in Marietta, a suburb of Atlanta, after the company mounted Terrence McNally’s “Lips Together Teeth Apart.” Damn those homos, said the County Fathers. Clearly, little has changed since then.

Kudos to the Atlanta arts community for yesterday’s rally on the steps of the Capitol, protesting the cuts. If the current budget passes, Georgia will be the only state without an art council.

"If we … cut this funding, I'm going to be ashamed to be from Georgia," said Fort, an Atlanta Democrat. "This is a defining issue of who we are as Georgians."

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution eliminated its music, art and theater critics awhile ago. Now, save for the ArtsCriticAtl blog that the three bravely put on [see link on MusicalAmerica.com Home Page], there is no arts coverage. Soon there will be no arts to cover.

Shame on you, Georgia. Shame on you.

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