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Art education the focus of town hall

LaGRANGE – The Georgia Council for the Arts held the third in a series of four town halls at the LaGrange Art Museum on Wednesday, quite appropriately in the same gallery where the museum is currently hosting a show titled “Imagine a World Without Art” featuring artwork by local elementary school students.

The purpose of the town halls is to find out from people around the state what they think the GCA’s priorities should be when promoting art on a state level. Unsurprisingly, art education topped the list for the town hall’s attendees which ranged from elected officials to artists, with some attendees driving hours to attend the meeting.

“Every community that we’ve been in, arts education has been probably the number one thing that’s been brought up, and it is a passion that I share,” said Karen Paty, the executive director for the Georgia Council for the Arts.

The topic of art education has long been a major facet of the local arts conversation in LaGrange which has been blessed with community support in locating and securing facilities for both visual and performance artists in the community.

“I think it is an honor to be a part of the conversation, to be able to be involved,” said LaGrange Art Museum Board President Andy Porter. “… I think advocacy for better arts education in schools – education for small kids – that is important to me. You can supplement a lot at home, but to be involved at school with their peers is very important.”

The LaGrange Art Museum is already taking steps at a local level to increase access to art through the variety of classes offered at the museum – both paid and free to the public – like their Super Saturday program on the third Saturday of every month, which is free to the public thanks to a sponsorship from the Junior Service League.

“We love our artists and we are very grateful to the Georgia Council for the Arts for their support, and encouraging us to do what we do and being advocates for the arts and serving our local community here,” said LaGrange Art Museum Executive Director Karen Briggs. “It’s an honor to have them here.”

The GCA has helped sponsor exhibits at the museum in the past, like the Pasaquan exhibit that is currently on display in the main museum building.

Other topics were discussed during the event were the need for greater regional cooperation between artists and art groups, and GCA leaders left with a stronger impression of what is important to the arts community in small town Georgia.

The final GCA town hall in this series is scheduled to take place on May 18 at 10:30 a.m. at Dad’s Garage in Atlanta. To learn more about the Georgia Council for the Arts and their current projects visit gaarts.org/about/about-strategic-plan

To learn more about the LaGrange Art Museum and its art education programs visit lagrangeartmuseum.org