Lack of funds forces Art Factory in Augusta to shut down

Under the leadership of Cindy O'Brien, The Art Factory painted murals around the Augusta Utilities Department's Highland Avenue Treatment Plant.



The Art Factory, a nonprofit arts education group, announced Wednesday that it will cease operations, citing funding shortages.

Gertrude Herbert In­stitute of Art and the Jessye Norman School for Arts will assume the management of programs offered by The Art Factory, according to a news release. Gertrude Herbert Institute and The Art Factory received grants from some of the same organizations and private foundations.

Rebekah Henry, the executive director of the Gertrude Herbert Institute, said the future of a partnership between The Art Factory and the Kroc Center of Augusta is uncertain.

“We would like to take over the arts role (at the Kroc Center) if it’s beneficial for both organizations,” Henry said.

The Art Factory was founded in 1994 to offer art education programming to underserved and low-income children. It will offer programs through May 11, when the transition with Gertrude Herbert Institute and Jessye Norman school is complete.

In December, The Art Factory’s board of directors acknowledged the organization could not support itself after several years of low funding. Staff salaries were eliminated in January, according to the news release.

With the acquisition of The Art Factory’s programs, Gertrude Herbert Institute will increase its annual outreach by about 2,000 individuals and the Jessye Norman school will increase outreach by about 580.



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