Sad day to see Arts Council close

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 4, 2006

You can say it’s a step backward for the local community.

The Arts Council, which has been a viable part of Selma and Dallas County for more than two decades, is closing its doors, due to large budget cuts and lack of sufficient funding.

Their $5,000 allotment from the city of Selma was cut from the budget this year.

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While at least one council member tried to drum up support for the Arts Council, there wasn’t enough interest by our elected officials to cough up the money.

It’s not a lot to help fund a program that provides arts and artists-in-residence positions that benefitted thousands of local school children.

The council also offered teacher workshops to hundreds of area teachers.

In a community such as Selma, where opportunities for advancement are few, the Arts Council offered young people a chance to discover and develop a talent, or a love for the arts. Developing such a talent leads to higher self-esteem and self-confidence in our young people.

That’s always a plus. In fact, it’s a necessity.

For the past eight years, the Arts Council has been headed by Sandy Greene, who says, “We have been fortunate enough to be a part of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Partners in Education Program since 1996, one of only three communities in the state with this affiliation.”

With this partnership, Greene brought quality professional artists in drama, dance, music and more to the area.

“Over the years,” she says, “we received funding with much gratitude from the City of Selma, Dallas County Commission, Alabama Power and others. We have also been recipients of grants from International Paper and The State Arts Council.”

In keeping with its mission, the Council has given its final donation to the Dallas County High Drama Club, which performs for area schools.

It’s a shame for the city of Selma that our elected officials couldn’t find the resources to keep this vital organization going – a group whose main mission was to improve culture and the arts in this area.