Without the help of special funding, many of the art events in Columbia County would not take place.
Thanks to the Grassroots Arts Program, three county groups received funds to help with events and provide college scholarships.
GAP is a statewide program that aims to broaden the arts experiences of Georgia residents. The Greater Augusta Arts Council coordinates grants for GAP funds in a 12-county region.
For the Artist Guild of Columbia County, those funds came in handy for their Arts After Dark event Nov. 8.
Art After Dark has been held annually the past four years and was started to display the work of the guild. This year, guild president Cindy Epps and other members wanted to open up the event to other artist groups.
"We were able to rent a big facility. We were also able to make the event free and open to the public with the help of the grant," Epps said.
The Columbia County Library also received funds for the Writers Fest scheduled for Feb. 7.
The Writers Fest highlights local authors' work and gives the community the chance to learn about them and possibly find a new book to read.
"I've had a running list of our hopes and dreams and when I got a GAP package everything just fell into place for the Writers Fest," said Natalie Gibson, the library's reference and grant-writing librarian.
Columbia County Leisure Services received a grant that will be used to stage a concert next spring featuring bluegrass and country music artists.
"We're not sure if we would be able to host as many events as we do without the funds the Grassroots Arts Program provides," said Stacy Adkins, the leisure services coordinator.
GAP supports diverse arts projects, but coordinator Grace Bowles said the program's future is in doubt because of state budget problems.
"We're not sure if the program will even be here next year," Bowles said.
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