Fennelly: Financial support a must for local museums

May 30, 2014 

Imagine taking years and years to build your own home and then, faced with a short-term financial problem, you decide to tear the whole house down and sell it for scrap lumber. Where does that leave you when the crisis is past?

Well, this is the sort of “solution” that next year’s proposed budget has in mind for the Museum of Arts and Sciences and the Tubman African American Museum. The proposed budget cuts simply make no sense financially or educationally.

If you saw the recently released population figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, you know that of the 20 largest cities in Georgia, Macon is one of the three that lost population during the period 2010-2013. We are already known for crime and poverty. Do we want to add foolish decisions?

Speaking of poverty and crime, the most compelling reason to fund our museums is their educational function. While affluent parents may take their children to Washington or New York, or even to Atlanta’s High Museum or Fernbank, for many of the students in Bibb County schools, the visits to the Tubman museum and the MAS may be their only exposure to cultural institutions and their windows into art, history and science. These are the experiences that generate excitement and keep kids in school. A visit to the state-of-the-art planetarium is a life-altering experience.

There is also the factor of our convention and tourist industry. We already do far too little to promote our city’s offerings. Is our solution simply to shut them down?

That can’t be, you say. Well, don’t say that to me: say it to our local government. As a recent letter to the editor asked, what’s the point of a streetcar if there’s nowhere to go?

Big weekend

There’s plenty of theater this weekend including two classics: “Philadelphia Story” (at Theatre Macon), Noel Coward’s “Hay Fever” (Milledgeville Players) and “It Ain’t What It looks Like” (Douglass Theatre).

You want music? Beginning next Friday is the first of three big fundraisers at Little Carnegie of the South. The $100 tickets will go toward the purchase of the facility’s Steinway concert grand piano. On June 8, the Music and the Arts Series at Vineville United Methodist Church will feature renowned concert organist Alan Morrison from the Curtis Institute of Music.

Contact Larry Fennelly at LarryFennelly@avantguild.com.

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