MARIETTA – At a meeting of the city's Parks, Recreation and Tourism Committee Thursday, members of the Marietta City Council considered $1.1 million in funding requests from the city’s major cultural institutions.

The requests, coming from organizations ranging from the Strand Theatre to the Marietta Arts Council, come as part of the yearly process of doling out tourism grants.

Grants for the organizations are funded through the city’s 3% auto rental tax, which is projected to bring in $607,200 this fiscal year. An 8% hotel/motel tax, meanwhile, is expected to collect $318,796 and is used to fund the Marietta Visitors Bureau.

The largest request for fiscal 2022 is from city staff, which raised its ask to over $191,000, up from $150,000 last year. City spokesperson Lindsey Wiles said those funds go to staffing city festivals including Chalktoberfest, Streetfest, Taste of Marietta, and the Fourth of July celebration.

At the Marietta Museum of History, which has requested $160,000, funds would help pay for features such as a forthcoming exhibit highlighting a trove of photographs depicting 19th century Marietta. Many of the photos, by a young New York photographer named James Walsh, were taken May 30, 1899—Memorial Day.

“It was a unique situation where we have African Americans coming from all over Atlanta, coming up to Marietta, specifically for the federal Memorial Day festivities,” said museum curator Amy Reed.

“Memorial Day wasn't a big deal for most white citizens in the South. They were still very big on Confederate Memorial Day. And so the only people really that were going out to celebrate the federal Memorial Day were African Americans and Union veterans.”

Reed said the exhibit, titled “Marietta 1899: Color Captured in Black and White,” is a unique glimpse of Black Americans at a time when most portrayals of them showed them only in domestic roles.

The Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art, meanwhile, has sought $125,000, while the Gone With the Wind Museum is seeking $67,670.

After review by the committee, the requests will be decided by the full council. 

A complete list of the organizations and their funding requests is as follows:

Marietta Grant Requests

Organization FY 2020 Award FY 2021 Award FY 2022 Request
City Staff Request - City Services $132,480.24 $140,000 $191,971
The Earl Smith Strand Theatre $66,000 $54,780 $45,000
Cobb NAACP Juneteenth $10,000 $5,000 $10,560
GA Metro Dance Theatre $18,000 $14,940 $30,000
Georgia Symphony Orchestra $15,000 $12,450 $15,800
Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art $90,000 $18,675 $125,000
Marietta Museum of History $162,000 $160,000 $160,000
Marietta Square Branding Project $12,500 $5,000 $10,000
The Georgia Ballet $10,000 $8,300 $20,000
Marietta Gone With the Wind Museum $55,000 $68,670 $67,670
Cobb Landmarks $20,000 $16,600 $60,000
Marietta Business Association (Art in Park) $16,000 City Services City Services
Marietta Arts Council $12,000 $6,960 $12,000
Atlanta Lyric Theatre $10,000 $8,300 $12,000
Marietta Educational Gardens N/A $0 $5,000
TOTAL $765,001

A breakdown of the hotel/motel tax is below:

Hotel Motel Tax

Organization FY 2020 Award FY 2021 Award FY 2022 Request FY 2022 Recommended Award
Marietta Visitors Bureau $300,000 $300,000 $348,290 $295,000
Lease of Welcome Center N/A $18,000 $18,540 $18,540
City Staff Marketing Request $24,000 N/A $10,000 $5,000
TOTAL $358,290 $318,540
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