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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

OCA grant cycle delayed but not forgotten

Artists and supporters protested a cut to OCAs budget last May.
  • Dustin Chambers
  • Artists and supporters protested a cut to OCA's budget last May.
Artists and arts organizations are holding on to every opportunity for funding with a white-knuckle grip. In May, a group of art supporters rallied at Atlanta City Hall to protest a 50 percent slash to the Office of Cultural Affairs' budget: Mayor Kasim Reed's proposed 2012 budget would've dropped OCA's funds from $470,000 to $235,000.

But a week later at the Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund awards luncheon, Mayor Reed, a former MAAF board member, promised to restore all of OCA's funds, a decision he said he came to in a moment of clarity during a run. ("I realized: 'I'm the mayor.'")

So now the question is, when can artists and arts organizations get their hands on that money?

Normally, OCA's Contracts For Arts Services program, ie arts grants program, applications are made available late summer. For the 2010-11 cycle, applications were made available in August, the deadline was Sept. 30 and notifications of awards were sent out in December.

But nearly halfway through September there's been no word on the 2011-12 program schedule. Earlier this year, Contracts For Arts Services project supervisor Monica Prothro left the position to become the facilities manager of Cyclorama, and the vacancy has caused a delay in the application schedule.

"There will be a grant cycle this year. The schedule has been delayed because we are in the process of transitioning staff at Office of Cultural Affairs, we are planning to release the schedule for the grant cycle at the end of this week," said Prothro in an e-mail.

Job postings for the positions Cultural Affairs Program Manager and Cultural Affairs Project Supervisor were officially posted on the City of Atlanta's website earlier this week.

"We’re working to get someone in place and move forward [with the hiring process]. I’d like to have someone in by the first of November. But that doesn’t say the process won’t start prior to that," explains OCA Director Camille Russell Love.

Despite the delay in the application process, Love says the grants will still be awarded by the end of the year.

"There's no danger of the grants not being done. That's not going to happen," says Love.

With reporting by Thomas Wheatley

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