ROSWELL, Ga. — In Roswell, the arts matter: they provide entertainment for residents, make the city a destination for non-residents and simply create a stronger sense of culture. An Oct. 10 meeting on the state of the arts demonstrated Roswell’s drive to maintain this community cornerstone.
At the meeting, seven panelists spoke about Roswell and its relationship with the arts, and how that relationship can be utilized to grow and expand the city. One of the main focuses of the discussion was how education and businesses can be augmented by involving the arts and, more specifically, the creative process.
Dr. William Brogner, associate professor and dean at the Robinson School of Business at Georgia State University, spoke about the “intersection between the arts and entrepreneurship,” which he says is creativity. He went on to say how important it is, even in the business world, to get people out of the cubicle and “into the environment to interact with the people and activities that will give you those creative insights.”
This creative stimulation, he says, is key to both education and business. Jena Sibille, educator and curator of the Teaching Museum North, added to this idea.
“Creativity and innovation, critical thinking and problem solving and communication and collaboration. The arts are unique in how they address these skills,” she said.
This unique perspective is useful everywhere.
Of course, arts education does have a price — a monetary one. Georgia ranks last in the nation for funding of the arts in schools, and when asked about how to finance the arts, Lisa Cremin, director of the Metropolitan Atlanta Arts fund, said that when it comes to funding, there is a “three-legged stool” composed of political, public and private funding, and that all three are necessary to adequately fund arts programs.
Adding to this, Janine Musholt, vice president of advancement at the Woodruff Arts Center, spoke of “creating a culture of philanthropy,” which is, as she puts it, the community effort to expand the arts. To create a culture that celebrates the arts requires a culture that works together to forward the arts, Musholt said.
“When you share the work between the whole culture, you also share the success,” she said.
Anita Farley, director of the Georgia Ensemble Theatre, suggested something in the same vein, that for “future planning for Roswell, we start thinking about arts, especially the performing arts, and find ways to incorporate them within the community.”
Lew Oliver, of Lew Oliver Inc., a Roswell-based urban design company, echoed this, saying that “when we’re thinking about making great places here, the artist is key in that.”
Mayor Jere Wood was also present, and offered advice on how the rest of the panel and those attending the meeting, could achieve the goals they had laid out for arts in the city of Roswell.
“If you want to have influence, you have to do that as a group,” he said.
He suggested that, as the group had already done, they organize and state their desires clearly.
“We do have a great opportunity in this city to make Roswell a great place to live,” he said, and that art is going to be an important part of that.