Since September 24, all candidates running for Georgia House District 165 were contacted to complete a short arts and culture survey. The purpose of the survey was to collect their positions on a variety of topics. Candidates Sabrina Greene-Kent and Edna Jackson responded. Alternatively, candidates Clinton Cowart, Antwan Lang, and Clinton Young were unable or unwilling to respond after several attempts.
These questionnaires or requests for a candidate’s platform related to arts and culture provide an opportunity for candidates to inform voters where they stand on advancing the arts and culture.
Background: The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies reports Georgia is historically at or near 50th in legislative arts and culture and currently with a per capita of $.14., while the entire southeast state averages $.71. At the federal level, for reference, spending per capita is $.47. Furthermore, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that arts and cultural production account for over $28 billion and 4.6% of the Georgia economy, contributing 154,259 jobs. This value-added to the Georgia economy is second only to retail.
Question: How would you support a plan or take action to increase Georgia Council for the Arts funding up to a level to meet or exceed the southeast per capita average of $.71. A funding increase would contribute to arts and cultural organizations presenting even more accessible programs for all Georgians and contribute to increasing the value-added?
Background: An arts education provides a well-rounded education and too many benefits to mention in this survey. Education in the arts frequently leads to jobs and provides the creative skills employers seek. In addition, existing Georgia law, proposed legislation, and several state-driven education initiatives emphasize STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).
With the implementation of Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), states now have more responsibility for providing a well-rounded education – including an arts education. Support for arts education can best be done when states are provided adequate funding and resources to administer, research, and provide accountability for arts education programs.
Question: How would you support a plan or take action to amend existing Georgia law, secure proposed legislative language, or redirect state-driven education initiatives to emphasize STEAM, where the arts are prominently featured as a priority in education?
Is there anything else to share with Georgia voters interested in the state’s health and sustainability of arts and culture?