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Several groups tapped for arts alliance grants
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Forsyth County News

Several area arts programs will soon receive a financial boon.

The Forsyth County Arts Alliance has named recipients of grant funding, totaling $50,265, to be presented later this month.

The purpose of the funds is to support projects that enrich the quality of life in the community by connecting people to the arts.

According to chairman Marcus Rosin, the arts alliance was pleased with "the diversity of arts programming that these funds will bring."

"There was a large response from the arts community for this round of grants," said Rosin, who added that the selection process was challenging due to a high volume of need.

"But we are confident that these recipients will enrich the quality of life for our community members."

This year’s recipients include:

• Cumming First United Methodist Church, for its Festival of the Arts

• Forsyth Central High School, for a children’s a play

• Sawnee Artists Association, for a photography show and the Belleza Art Show

• Forsyth County Parks and Recreation Department, for art on the Big Creek Greenway

Three groups received funding for musical projects:

• North Georgia College and State University, for its symphony orchestra

• The Cumming Playhouse, for the installation of an elevated band stand and stage flooring

• Northside-Hospital Forsyth Auxiliary, for Healing Sounds, a therapeutic music program

The arts alliance has awarded grants for the past three years.

Arts organizations relay heavily on donations and grant funding such as this, said Linda Heard, executive director of the Cumming Playhouse.

She said the playhouse, for example, has a "very strict line-item budget" set by government officials that is maintained through ticket proceeds and rents.

"Any activities or projects over and above this budget must rely on grants such as the [alliance] grant and private donors," she said.

The alliance was created by proceeds from the sale of the Sawnee Arts Center to the county. The building currently houses the tax commissioner’s office.

While the center was once used to help promote the arts in the community, its sale yielded about $2 million, which is managed through the alliance.

The funding was placed in an endowment with the North Georgia Community Foundation.

A local board of directors, representing business and community leadership, is responsible for the funding and making recommendations for distribution.

This year’s grants will be presented during a luncheon set for 11:30 a.m. July 21 at the Lanier Technical College Forsyth Conference Center.