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Investing in Atlanta's arts community

ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) — Atlanta's art community has faced some unique challenges over the years, especially during the pandemic. Mayor Andre Dickens met with local artists at a gallery on Wednesday to share how the current election will decide the fate of millions of dollars set aside to support them.

George Galbreath, a Howard University alum, is both an artist and arts educator at Westlake High School. "When I got to Atlanta, that's when the culture was pouring into me through my mentor, Kevin Cole, at Westlake High School," he said.

Galbreath and his wife know first hand about the funding challenges artists face throughout their careers. They co-founded ARTiculate ATL to support emerging artists, and they work with the ZuCot Gallery, the largest African-American owned fine art gallery in the Southeast.

"We also do a lot in education and the importance of education with young people as well as adults," said ZuCot Gallery Managing Partner Onaje Henderson.

They all joined Mayor Andre Dickens for his announcement on how voters can support artists during this election cycle. "We will receive $15 million in investment for the arts if you vote for this referenda on May 24," he said.

Dickens highlighted the millions of dollars made available to artists since he took office, including a creative loan fund of $1.25 million dollars. "I am proposing legislation to convert the city's creative loan fund to make both past and future disbursements as grants," he said.

"The arts enrich the creative development of the city's diverse populations and contribute positively to the social and economic well-being of Atlanta and the region," said Camille R. Love, the executive director of the Mayor's Office of Cultural Affairs.

"It's gonna allow people to take more risks and really do some things around the city that I think are gonna be exciting to everyone," said Galbreath.

"I'm excited for all of the artists who might benefit from the. Moneys that the mayor's office is pouring into the arts. It's great to see the increase in the budget. It's great to see these other opportunities," said Galbreath's wife, Esohe Galbreath.

The proposed arts funding is one of several items included in the Moving Atlanta Forward Infrastructure Package. The package includes three measures: two referenda and a special sales tax renewal, which are listed on the May 24 primary election ballot. The three measures include a total of $750 million dollars worth of infrastructure investments that will improve streets and sidewalks and fund public safety and arts projects.

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