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COLUMN

Happytown

The week where we found more litigious fun in the cotton candy heads of TBN's Crouch family, less fun in Rick Scott's ridiculous budget cuts and a new friend (hopefully) in incoming United Arts CEO Flora Maria Garcia. Also, Jesus wept.

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An arts-related brouhaha erupted in Maitland, as well, when city councilman Phil Bonus raised a ruckus over whether Maitland Art & History Museums - an organization that was pretty much constructed by the city of Maitland to take over the operations of both the Maitland Art Center and the Maitland Historical Museum to make them more efficient - is efficient enough. His take: It's not and he wants the city to take over the organization to make it “revenue neutral,” rather than costing the city any money. Because, you know, art doesn't give anything back to the community, so it better start working to earn its keep. Right.

So no better time than now for United Arts to announce that it has finally hired a new president and CEO. Flora Maria Garcia,CEO of the Metro Atlanta Arts & Culture Coalition, takes the reins of United Arts beginning May 29. The veteran administrator, it seems, is no stranger to fighting for a pittance from local governments: “The government doesn't understand the value of the arts to communities. They think of it as an extra, not a necessity,” Garcia was quoted as saying by the Marietta Daily Journal in 2011. “We need to continue to raise awareness about the economic impact and value of the arts for tourism and the economy. Most arts organizations don't talk about themselves as economic drivers to their elected officials.”

Sing it, sister. Welcome to town.

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