Colquitt Miller Arts Council (Colquitt, GA)

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A woman and a girl  paint a colorful design on a board

Artist Karyn Mervis works with a student as part of Colquitt Miller Arts Council's Art With Heart project. Photo courtesy of Colquitt Miller Arts Council Photo courtesy of Colquitt Miller Arts Council

The Colquitt Miller Arts Council (CMAC) was the result of a grassroots movement to foster and sustain economic growth in southwest Georgia. The council's activities have included producing compact discs of locally composed music, publishing oral histories of local communities, and presenting annual productions of Swamp Gravy, a folklife play celebrating local history. Scholarship support is available for underserved populations in the community for the council's projects and programming, ensuring access to all activities.

In FY 2004, CMAC received an NEA Challenge America grant of $25,000 to support Art With Heart, a multigenerational community arts project. During the multiphase project, 150 first- through eight-grade students received hands-on training from visual artist-in-residence Karen Mervis at the New Life Learning Center (NLLC), the arts council's cultural art center. Students learned a variety of visual art techniques, including printmaking, landscape painting, and pen and ink drawing.  Students displayed their work at two community shows and in an ongoing exhibition at NLLC.

In the next phase of the project, the participating students will partner with residents and patients from Miller County Hospital and Nursing Home, an arts council community partner, to create a number of community visual art "canvases." In support of the project's aim to foster civic pride, these communal artworks will then be installed both in the hospital and at the school.

(From the 2004 NEA Annual Report)