Prayer for the health of the Arts, Georgia style / by Jeannine Cook

It seems that lots of prayers and incantations still need to be offered if the Georgia Council for the Arts is to survive in Georgia. The fate of the arts apparently hangs by a single thread in the review of the budget, and that thread is reportedly Representative Jerry Keen, from St Simons Island, Georgia.

In an area where the arts not only form an integral part of the community (for both local residents and retirees who have made this area home) but are a lifeline to young people who would otherwise be frequently handicapped in terms of art experiences, this is sad and amazing. I find it so strange that politicians deem it "wise" and "responsible" to impoverish the quality of their fellow citizens' lives, particularly at a time when any uplifting experiences that the arts could bring are needed to offset daily economic concerns. How short-sighted!

The fact that Georgia would become the only state in the US without any state arts agency, thus foregoing any federal supporting dollars, would seem to be very poor business sense as well. Bad publicity for Georgia, bad investment policies in terms of attracting tourists to the state, terrible messages to Georgia's youth about elected officials' concerns for their future success. How does one attract investments and new business to come to Georgia when the quality of life is manifestly of no importance whatsoever?

It is time that Representative Jerry Keen and his fellow elected politicians think a little more as statesmen and remember that life in Georgia is more than just the next election cycle. Particularly when the next election for Representative Keen falls due this year...