Here’s some news that has the local arts community buzzing.

One of the nation’s biggest names in philanthropy is turning its attention to metro Atlanta’s thriving arts community.

Bloomberg Philanthropies, the charitable arm of Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire former New York City Mayor, recently announced that it will be providing funding and training to small and medium-sized arts and culture organizations across metro Atlanta.

Bloomberg Philanthropies said it has invited 45 metro Atlanta cultural organizations to participate in its Arts Innovation and Management, or AIM, program, ranging from Dad’s Garage Theatre and Hudgens Center for the Arts to National Black Arts Festival and the Youth Ensemble of Atlanta.

Arts leaders in metro Atlanta, like Josh Phillipson, Principal Arts & Culture Planner at the Atlanta Regional Commission, say the support from Bloomberg will be a shot in the arm for local arts and culture groups, but it’s not a replacement for local support.

“The question now is how do we build on this momentum with additional local support to provide the long-term stability they need to thrive,” Phillipson said. “This is critical, because these small and mid-sized groups are where most of us experience arts and culture.”

Here’s how the Bloomberg Foundation describes the AIM program in a recent news release:

The invitation-only program seeks to strengthen the organizational capacity and programming of small and midsize cultural organizations within seven U.S. cities: Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Denver, New Orleans, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.  

Through the $43 million multi-year initiative, Bloomberg Philanthropies will provide unrestricted general operating support as well as arts management training in areas that include fundraising, strategic planning, marketing and board development.

“The arts inspire people, provide jobs, and strengthen communities,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies. “This program is aimed at helping some of the country’s most exciting cultural organizations reach new audiences and expand their impact.” The AIM program is part of Mike Bloomberg’s American Cities Initiative, an effort to help cities across the United States generate innovation.

Why did the Bloomberg Foundation choose Atlanta? Here’s what Kate D. Levin, head of the philanthropy’s arts program, had to say in the release:

“Atlanta has a booming creative sector. The city is home to more than 500 cultural organizations, many with a national or international profile and within that, a very robust small and mid-size cohort. We are excited to see what we can do to enhance that excellence.”

This video from Bloomberg provides an overview of the Arts Innovation and Management program.

Photo courtesy of JD Scott Photography and Moving in the Spirit

What’s Next ATL, produced by the Atlanta Regional Commission, is a community resource that explores how metro Atlanta is growing and changing, and how the region is addressing its most pressing challenges.