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Sunday May 3rd, 2015 7:51AM

Toccoa, Fannin Co. receive state arts, tourism grants; Gainesville included on planned 'arts tour'

By The Associated Press
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ATLANTA (AP) -- The state Department of Economic Development has awarded more than $178,000 in grants to 13 cities, counties and agencies for use in promoting fine arts and tourism throughout the state - including Toccoa and Fannin County. In addition, nine Georgia communities, including Gainesville, have been selected to host the state's first traveling art exhibit.

Gov. Nathan Deal said Wednesday the Georgia Council for the Arts is distributing the grants as part of the state's Tourism Product Development Agreement program. The program was designed to promote work being done in local communities to boost tourism and fine arts.

Recipients of the 2014 Tourism Product Development recipients include:

Augusta Canal Authority
City of Colquitt
City of Madison
City of Toccoa
Downtown Development Authority of the City of Atlanta
Dublin Downtown Development Authority
City of Dublin
Fannin County
Fulton County Arts Council
Georgia International and Maritime Trade Center Authority
Atlanta Development Authority
Whitfield County
Zebulon Downtown Development Authority

The Tourism Product Development Agreement program was designed to financially support tourism development activities that sustain and create jobs at the local level, and to support Georgia's creative economies with an emphasis on local artists and the nonprofit arts industry. The Georgia Department of Economic Development received 81 applications for the 2014 Tourism Product Development grant program, amounting to more than $1 million in requests.

ARTS TOUR

Meanwhile, Gov. Deal and First Lady Sandra Deal announced that nine Georgia communities - including Gainesville - have been selected to host the state's first traveling art exhibit.

Featuring 28 pieces from Georgia's state art collection, the exhibit is sponsored by the Georgia Council for the Arts in partnership with the Georgia Department of Economic Development's Tourism Division and the Georgia Humanities Council.

"The traveling exhibit is an opportunity to use the state art collection as a springboard for additional arts and culture activities that serve to celebrate and increase awareness for the local cultural community and to increase tourism," said Deal. "Sandra and I hope that this collection will inspire visitors and local citizens to learn more about Georgia's artistic heritage and current artists, and to Explore Georgia."

The state art collection, owned and managed by the Georgia Council for the Arts, is an extensive, vibrant chronicle of work created by Georgia artists from the 1970s to the 1990s. The new exhibit, "Inspired Georgia: 28 Works from Georgia's State Art Collection," is the first of its kind in decades, and highlights the diversity of styles, media and techniques in the collection. Original works from some of Georgia's iconic artists including Benny Andrews, Lucinda Bunnen, Herbert Creecy, Howard Finster, Ruth Laxson and Nellie Mae Rowe are featured in the exhibit.

Over the next 14 months, the following Georgia communities will host the exhibit for six to eight weeks:

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