Published in the Savannah Morning News on November 24, 2019
The election cycle brought an increased number of opportunities for candidates to share their vision, accomplishment, priorities, and platforms. This year for the first time, voters had the chance to hear from candidates and their arts and culture platform.
Given the platforms and the outcomes of the election, one could construe perhaps a close correlation. Candidates that responded and reflecting the active contribution of arts and culture to our community’s fabric triumphed at the ballot box.
Indeed, there are numerous priorities the people’s governments need to address or balance. It does well, however, to recognize the full value of arts and culture as a good investment, an economic driver contributing to better education, workforce, health, and a more exceptional quality of life, among other benefits. Few industries, if any, can tout the same.
It is refreshing to see a seismic shift in the City of Savannah’s representation, and the future looks bright.
We will soon complete the election cycle and enter the new year with new leadership.
It is, however, nearly too late for the 2020 budget with the current Council, where the cultural investment funds will probably stay the same as 2018 (and 2017) with a zero percent increase.
Still, hopefully, the new City Council will take more significant action to provide for more available and accessible funding as well as a better overall pro-arts and culture public policy positioning.
Next up is the election of Chatham County Commissioners. It is time they take action to actively support arts and culture. There is significant room for improvement in nearly every district, including the chairmanship’s public policy position on arts and culture within the county.
Patrick A. Kelsey
Arts and Culture Council of Chatham County