If you have spent any time in or around the Marietta Square lately, you have been witness to an art movement. The vibrant murals that envelop the buildings and businesses have brought an energetic vibe to the charming town square. That energy inspires crowds that can be seen well beyond Saturday afternoons. The Marietta Arts Council has been working to enrich the artistic and cultural landscape of the City of Marietta through advocacy, education, and public art. The murals are just one component of their efforts. The Council has also introduced the M2R TrailFest with a sculpture garden, a mile-long fence gallery, and numerous performances stretching along two miles of the downtown Marietta urban walking and biking trail. Not only have they coordinated with artists who have been creating these works, but they have been behind-the-scene advocates working with Marietta government and businesses to maximize the artful impact while working within municipal considerations.
As a 100% volunteer-run nonprofit organization, the commitment is strong, but funding can be a challenge. Since their inception in 2018, they have relied largely on private donations and grants from the City of Marietta for installations. Though the public response to their projects have been overwhelmingly positive, even receiving random cash donations from visitors walking by the installations, there has been no clear channel to receive donations.
Getting their 501(c)(3) designation was a goal they recently accomplished to help clear that hurdle. “The stars aligned and it all came together,” says Chairwoman Bonnie Reavis. But they also had their eye on creating their own fund with the Cobb Community Foundation.
“Coming out of the Pandemic, we wanted to be very intentional about how we use our resources. We wanted to expand our reach, but the human resources for making that happen are limited. Having a fund with CCF is going to create greater awareness and potential for funding. A small organization like ours can often be overshadowed by some of the larger nonprofits in town. Having a fund through the Foundation levels the playing field for us. It puts us in front of more donors who are looking for ways to support a mission like ours. Now we have as much of a chance to receive funds as any of the other art organizations. And the foundation staff expands our resources by handling the financial transactions around this fund. It’s a no-brainer.”
Be on the lookout for new and inspiring projects from the Marietta Arts Council as they continue to grow and expand outward from the traditional spaces where you expect to experience art. “You’ve heard of food deserts. We are thinking about art deserts. And that’s a gap we are exploring.”
To support the mission of the Marietta Arts Council, visit here to make a donation.