Rome Area Council for the Arts is launching a new project that brings awareness for the need to support the arts.

The Why the Arts Matter initiative is a campaign designed by photographer Kelly Moore and graphic designer Seth McWhorter (both RACA board members and artists).

It aims at illustrating the need for support of local arts events and organizations by asking local artists, art organizations as well as city and count officials to express, in their own words, why the arts are so important.

“Art connects us and influences us. Creativity pushes the bounds of critical thinking,” said Seth Ingram, Director of the Rome International Film Festival. “There is no innovation without art. Art innovation drives Entrepreneurship and Economic Development. Art helps us understand our surroundings and shows our common connectivity. Art is the most complex and the most authentic form of human communication.”

Local musician Scott Thompson said the arts are the lifeblood of any community.

“It’s been proven time and again that cities that embrace and support the arts thrive,” Thompson said. “We are so fortunate here in Rome to have, not only an exceptional music scene, but also theater and visual arts as well. To embrace the arts is to embrace prosperity.”

Over the past fiscal year, RACA was able to give out over $21,000 in grants to the following:

Support for our local partners – Rome Little Theater, Rome Shakespeare Festival, Rome International Film Festival, Rome’s Own Music Ensemble (R.O.M.E), Rome Symphony Orchestra

The Align Design Series – an intensive graphic design program for rising high school seniors

Weekly music class materials for kids in the Berry Kindermusik program

Year-round arts and crafts for after school enrichment programs at the YMCA

Grants for writers, storytelling festivals, speech competitions and poetry books

4-H summer program art activity kits for kids

Through social media, RACA will highlight local arts organizations as well as artists and will be sending letters to members and sponsors in hopes of raising money to continue support the arts locally.

“Now, more than ever, the arts need Rome and Rome needs the arts,” the RACA release read.

Apart from donations, Rome residents are also invited to join RACA this year with a tax-deductible membership by visiting online at www.romearts.org.

“The arts matter to individuals because they are like a gift from one person to another — whether it’s that treasured piece of art your child brought home from school or that exceptional piece of art that makes you feel something special inside,” said County Commissioner Allison Watters. “The arts matter to communities because public art can help create an active and dynamic cultural scene, which helps attract individuals and businesses.”

In addition to donations, Rome residents are also invited to join RACA this year with a tax-deductible membership by visiting online at www.romearts.org.

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