On Wednesday, the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Georgia Council for the Arts (GCA) awarded the LaGrange Art Museum two grants totaling $15,000, according to a LaGrange Art Museum press release. One is a $10,000 Bridge Grant that provides funds for operating support. The money for this grant comes from the American Rescue Plan. The other is a $5,000 Arts Education Program Grant for fiscal year 2022, which will allow the museum to extend its MiniArtfulVisions program for Meriwether County kindergartners for a fourth year, as well as expand the same program to Troup County kindergartners.
MiniArtfulVisions is an arts integration learning program for small children. In the program, students link language and literacy concepts with works of art in the LaGrange Art Museum’s permanent collection. According to LAM director of education Sallie Keith, the program improves creative and critical thinking skills and aids the development of social and problem-solving skills.
“We applied for the grants and were hopeful that we would get them funded. We felt really good about the MiniArtfulVisions program because it has a good track record, and we’ve been able to track its success, so we felt like it had a good chance of being funded again for the fourth year,” museum executive director Laura Jennings said.
Jennings said the museum wasn’t as sure about the Bridge Grant.
“We’re really excited to get that $10,000 because that’s the hardest money to raise,” she said.
“The $10,000 can be used for salaries, utilities, the day-to-day needs that keep the museum doors open.”
“Georgia Council for the Arts uses Peer Review Panels to judge and review applications following standard practices set by the National Endowment for the Arts,” says the press release. “Panelists are GCA Council members and fellow professionals who are experienced in the arts discipline or type of grant being reviewed, or are citizens with a record of arts activities, experience and knowledge. Grant recipients include theaters, dance companies, museums, cities, colleges and multi-discipline arts entities.”
Jennings said the MiniArtfulVisions program initially served Meriwether County instead of Troup County because the museum serves a multi-county region, because the museum’s director of education and deputy director live in Meriwether County and because children in that county have less access to art museums than Troup County children do.
“So, with limited funds, we picked Meriwether County,” she said.