Johns Creek Symphony, Arts Center

Receive city arts grants

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JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – The Johns Creek City Council announced Sept. 23 the two arts organizations have been accepted in the Johns Creek Arts Grants Program. Two other applicants were turned downed.

The city sets aside $30,000 each year for arts grants. The grants are limited to established arts organization of at least three years, and they must reside and promote the arts within the city limits.

The Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra was given a grant of $9,000, and the Johns Creek Art Center was awarded $13,415. The balance of the 2013 arts fund will be placed in the General Fund.

Barnwell Elementary School PTA and the Johns Creek Beautification were denied funding because they are not true arts organizations, said Johns Creek Chief of Staff Patty Hansen.

The Johns Creek Arts Center will use some of its grant funding for the Senior to Senior program which engages high school students and senior citizens in an arts collaborative program.

JC Arts Center Executive Director Gail Hisle said the student will be paired with an older adult from an assisted living facility in the city to create an artwork that tells the older adult’s “story.” The students will receive some training in how to talk to their partners and elicit the story of their lives.

Then the student and partner will work together to create some sort of art project.

“That might be a painting or a memory box, but it will be something that will allow the senior to work with the kid and relate to the life of that senior,” Hisle said.

“This allows us to go into the senior homes and bring some joy and at the same time to get learn from older adults,” she said.

Another project funded will be Celebrate Diversity Month, in which students will create their art to demonstrate diversity and what it brings to the cultural life of the city. Then there will be a juried art show at the JC Arts Center.

“It means a great deal to have the support of the City Council. It shows they really understand the importance of the arts in a community,” Hisle said.

Likewise, Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra Executive Director Sue Haggerty said the orchestra’s grant is a huge boon to the JCSO.

“Well, we are thrilled, obviously, to get the grant,” said Haggerty. “It shows the city recognizes and embraces the importance of the arts in the community. The council’s partnership helps make sure that we can provide the best possible artistic and musical experiences for our citizens.”

What these grants do is raise the quality of life for all Johns Creek citizens, she said.

“It’s not about choosing the arts or something else. There shouldn’t have a choice forced upon us. Arts have to be part of your life. When schools cut funding, they always choose the arts. Arts are a quality of life issue for the entire community,” Haggerty said. “They enhance the experience of living here and send a message that here the arts are valued.”

The grant not only allows young students to receive exposure to music, it will also allow students and senior citizens to have reduced ticket prices so they can experience the orchestra.

The funding will also help the JCSO fund its Meet the Orchestra program. It introduces the elements of orchestra play to elementary students.

The concert begins with one instrument onstage and as it plays another instrument and then another instrument are added to the performance.

The students see and hear what a symphony can become, and its sum is greater than its parts, Haggerty said.