Action needed! Fulton County manager proposes 100% funding cut to Arts & Culture department.

This is a critical moment to show your support for ATLFF and other arts organizations in Atlanta that receive major funding from the county. 


Dear Atlanta Film Festival & Arts Supporters,   
    As you may have recently read in last Sunday’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Fulton County is in a dire financial situation, looking at a possible $115m deficit.  As part of a proposed resolution to this deficit, the current Interim County Manager has proposed a 100% cut to the Department of  Arts and Culture.  Long story short: we need your help!  This is your chance to show your support with just a moment of your time.       

The Atlanta Film Festival receives a significant portion of its funding from Fulton County as other public sources and grants have been drying up. Fulton County is the single largest public funder of the arts in the entire state of Georgia (larger even than the state of Georgia itself, which is 48th in the nation for arts funding).

Organizations that receive funding from Fulton County's Department of Arts & Culture include: 

  • Atlanta Ballet 
  • Atlanta Film Festival 
  • Atlanta Jewish Film Festival 
  • Atlanta Symphony Orchestra 
  • Alliance Theatre 
  • Art Papers 
  • Center for Puppetry Arts 
  • High Museum of Art 
  • Imagine It! Children's Museum 
  • Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia (MOCA GA) 
  • National Black Arts Festival 
  • Shakespeare Tavern 
  • Theatre of the Stars 
  • WonderRoot 
  • WRFG 
  • Young Audiences 

As someone who is either in the arts or has a strong appreciation for what arts and culture means for this community, our Fulton County Commissioners must hear from you. 
Over the past five years the Arts & Culture department budget has been cut an average of 14-20% annually, and since 2001 has been cut over one million dollars. Though these were difficult for the Arts in Fulton County, the cuts were proportionately aligned with all other departments within the County budget. At this juncture, however, a 100% cut to the Department of  Arts and Culture is in the County Manager's top three recommendations. ATLFF has strategically adjusted our business model to adjust for previous cuts, but a funding reduction like this one would be a major blow. 
    Our plea to you, as someone who is connected to  Arts and Culture in this community, is for you, your family and friends to IMMEDIATELY let your Commissioner  know of your concern.   To let our voices be heard, we ask everyone who wants this to continue to be a healthy cultural community to do one or all of the following:
1)       Call your Commissioner (numbers are below) and simply state that you are very concerned and not in favor of there being any cuts in the Dept. of  Arts and Culture.  Leave your name, organization(s) you support, and zip code of Fulton you live/work/play in.
2)        Send an email to your Commissioner stating that  Arts and Culture is an important part of the quality of life for those of us who live, work and play in Fulton County and that you urge them not to support the County Manager's recommendation to cut the budget for the Dept. of  Arts  and Culture; 

District Commissioner Information
To find your commissioner, please consult the Fulton County District Map:  

District 1 (At Large) : Chairman John Eaves                              Email:   404-612-8206
District 2 (At Large)  Commissioner Robb Pitts  Email:    404-612-8210
District 3  Commissioner Liz Hausmann  Email:   404-612-8213
District 4  Commissioner Tom Lowe
Email:   404-612-8218 
District 5   Commissioner Emma Darnell  Email:   404-612-8222
District 6    Commissioner Joan Garner  Email:   404-612-8226
District 7   Commissioner William “Bill” Edwards  Email:   404-612-8230
3)       Attend the Board of Commissioners meeting  (Wednesday, August 21st) where this issue will be discussed and voice your concern during the public comment section. The meeting will be held at the Fulton County Govt. Complex, 141 Pryor Street, Atlanta, Georgia. 

At this  10AM meeting, they are scheduled to introduce the recent recommendations to the full Board.  Please arrive at 9:30 if you would like to speak to the Commissioners to sign up. It is first come, first serve!  Your presence is critical and extremely necessary to ensure we maintain a healthy Arts environment throughout Fulton County. We are encouraging all in attendance to wear green so our presence can be easily recognized by the BOC.  
The Department of  Arts and Culture, the Atlanta Film Festival, and the Fulton County Arts Council thank you in advance.  This will be our only chance to communicate to the Commissioners the importance of  Arts and Culture in our surrounding communities.
    Our thanks, in advance, for all you have and will continue to contribute to Arts and Culture.  Please act today to help stop this action by the Commission and allow Fulton County's quality of life for families, children, seniors and artists remain alive and vibrant.

Christopher Escobar 

Executive Director

Atlanta Film Festival 365

P.S. To learn more about this situation, there are several documents (including the original AJC article) available here: