Four Atlanta-based LGBTQ arts organizations — Atlanta Freedom Bands, Out Front Theatre Company, Out On Film and Voices of Note — have been awarded grants by the Georgia Council for the Arts (GCA), a division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, as part of its initial disbursement of grants for fiscal year 2022.
A total of 218 organizations were awarded 266 grants that provide more than $2 million in funding to arts organizations throughout the state. The Bridge Grant provided funding for operating support to 135 organizations, the Project Grant will help fund 54 arts projects, and the Arts Education Program Grant was awarded to 77 organizations. Additional grants for Vibrant Communities and Cultural Facilities programs will be awarded in the Fall of 2021.
“As we emerge from this past year’s quarantine, the arts sector is vital to restarting the economy by attracting tourists, assisting with classroom learning, and igniting events to bring communities back together,” said GCA Executive Director Tina Lilly. “The 266 grants we have awarded will help cities and organizations leverage additional funds and bring people back to work while providing fun and educational opportunities for Georgians across the state.”
“We are proud to be in the company of some of the best organizations serving their communities in our state,” said Cliff Norris, development director of Atlanta Freedom Bands, which represent the LGBTQ+ community through music with a Concert Band, Marching Band, the MetroGnomes, Color Guard and other ensembles. “The funds are especially important this year as our local arts organizations bring back that unique spice to our lives that only live performing arts can provide.”
“The award Voices of Note received from the Georgia Council for the Arts is tremendously helpful and appreciated,” said Eve Campbell, executive director of Voices of Note, which includes the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus and the Atlanta Women’s Chorus. “We are so grateful, during this time of rebuilding and reopening, to have the support from the state of Georgia. This financial assistance allows us to work to further our mission of inspiring dialogue and creating social equity through artistic excellence.”
“As a first-time recipient of funding from GCA, we are thrilled that so many other LGBTQ+ focused organizations received support during this cycle as well,” said Paul Conroy, artistic director of Out Front Theatre’s Company, Atlanta’s LGBTQ theater company. “Nationally, there are basically no opportunities for arts organizations with missions similar to ours to receive funding so I believe our actual lifeblood has to come from the state and local level. We look at ourselves not just as a company that produces theatrical works, but also as a de facto LGBTQ community center here in Atlanta.”
“We are grateful for Georgia Council for the Arts for not only their continued support of arts in the state but specifically queer arts organizations,” said Jim Farmer, festival director of Out On Film, Atlanta’s LGBTQ film festival. “Atlanta has some of the best queer arts organizations in the country.”
All four groups are part of Atlanta Queer Arts Alliance (AQuAA), formed in 2019 to promote awareness and visibility of Atlanta’s LGBTQ performing arts organizations. Other AQuAA organizations include OurSong, the Atlanta Gay and Lesbian Chorus, and Atlanta Philharmonic Orchestra. AQuAA will be hosting its first in-person arts showcase tentatively on Sunday, October 3. Other upcoming events include:
Out On Film 34: Sept 23 – Oct 3, Landmark Midtown Art Cinema and Out Front Theatre Company, outonfilm.org
Atlanta Women’s Chorus’ “Phoenix Rising”: September 30, Mable House Barnes Amphitheater voicesofnote.org
Annual Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus holiday concert: December 3 – 4, Cathedral of St. Philip, voicesofnote.org