May 23—ACWORTH — As the band set up behind him Saturday evening, Mayor Tommy Allegood told the crowd at Logan Farm Park a reporter had just asked him what made the evening's event so special.
"And I said this: the fact that we as a community get to come out and celebrate it," he said. "It's really good to be back."
Saturday's crowd had gathered for a concert benefiting the Acworth Art House and the Acworth Arts Alliance.
The Acworth Arts Alliance, a nonprofit, first organized a concert fundraiser in 2019. A concert planned for April 2020 had to be canceled due to the pandemic.
Cathy Green, the arts alliance's executive director, said the loss of the 2020 fundraiser was not catastrophic. Federal pandemic relief kept the organization afloat. But bringing the concert back made it possible to continue offering graduating high school seniors scholarships when they commit to pursuing the arts in college.
Before The Weekend Getaway Band took the stage Saturday, Green announced that North Cobb Christian's Anneka Clingman and Cornerstone Preparatory Academy's Rachel Shannon had both been awarded scholarships. The nonprofit also awarded $2,000 to the city's Youth Art Enrichment Fund.
The concert was free to attend. But the alliance set up tables on the park's lawn and offered catered meals to supporters, who purchased 35 tables at $1,000 apiece. From the $35,000 raised Saturday, some will offset the cost of the event, with the remainder split between the arts alliance and the youth art fund.
"We were just looking forward to getting out after being cooped up so long," said Acworth's Linda Monroe. "Now things are opening up, it's nice to be able to get out."
Dawn Graham, sitting nearby, said she had not been to a live concert since before the pandemic.
For Ellen Kennery, a member of the arts alliance's board, Saturday's event was about more than just getting out. It was about supporting the arts in this small city and about reminding people how important they are.
"To some of us, the arts are more like breathing than an add-on," she said. "They're as important as anything else."