An arts advocate recently assessed the Atlanta mayoral candidates on their commitment to the arts. Peter received an A-, one of the top scores!
“The nonprofit arts and culture sector is a $719.8 million industry in Metro Atlanta — one that supports 23,514 full-time equivalent jobs and generates $64.5 million in local and state government revenue.”
That’s according to a report by American for the Arts, commissioned by Atlanta Regional Commission. As the creative class grows in Atlanta, especially in film, music, and traditional visual arts; the more important it is to have a mayor who understands the importance of the arts, and how to best leverage it for positive growth in Atlanta.
On Monday, September 25, nine of the thirteen mayoral candidates gathered for the “Mayoral Forum for the Arts” at the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. All candidates were invited and given ample time to prepare their arts platform for public presentation.
Based on the statements each candidate made at this event, I’ve graded the candidates according to these benchmarks:
1. Does the candidate seem to understand the arts, how they are run, and their general impact in Atlanta?
2. How well does the candidate articulate a clear platform for supporting the arts?
3. Will this candidate help Atlanta grow as a world-class arts destination?
4. Will this candidate support initiatives (through the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs (OCA) or other organizations) to bring art to underserved communities?
5. Does the candidate have a clear and plausible plan to fund the arts?
Many of the mayoral candidates made promises related to public schools. Voters should be wary of these because they are popular and easy promises to make, and if they don’t pan out the mayor can blame the superintendent. Ultimately, our mayor may have little power over what happens at Atlanta Public Schools. APS-related promises were not weighted for or against any of the candidates.
*The opinions in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect those of BURNAWAY’s staff or Board of Directors.
When scoring Peter, the author noted, in part: “Peter Aman understands the arts and how to fund them…”