By Mehgaan Jones
The National Association of Counties has selected a new vice chairperson for its Arts and Culture Commission: Clayton County District 1 Commissioner Sonna Singleton, of Rex.
Singleton was recently appointed by NACo President Glen Whitley, and will immediately serve in her new role. She follows former vice chairman, Robert Downing, of Calhoun County, Ala., according to a news release issued by Clayton County Public Relations Officer Jamie Carlington.
"I am honored that Whitley selected me as the vice chair of the Arts and Culture Committee," said Singleton Thursday. "Most people know that I am an avid supporter of the arts, and a big supporter of the arts and cultural initiatives we have in Clayton County."
According to Carlington, Singleton will now have an opportunity to demonstrate her support of the arts on a national level.
"I've heard rumors about cuts to arts programs, at the federal level," said Singleton. "As vice chairman, I plan to work with our president to ensure that NACo lobbies for continued funding for the arts. A lot of the counties depend on the arts in their communities," she added.
Carlington said Singleton has shown what she can do by her efforts to ensure that the valuable history of Rex Village was not simply wiped away.
"From those efforts, Historical Rex Village has been added to The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation 2011 list of '10 Places in Peril,'" said Carlington.
She added that this recognition can lead to various opportunities for economic development and preservation grants for the community.
The Arts Commission was launched with the intention of bringing together county government officials, civic and business leaders and patrons who support the arts and humanities on a local and national level, said Carlington, in a written statement.
"Since its inception, the Arts Commission has supported and promoted numerous workshops at NACo annual conferences that have included local practitioners who demonstrated how the arts can be used by county officials to provide solutions to many of the challenges that they face daily," Carlington said.
Linda Summerlin, executive director of Arts Clayton, has worked with the Singleton over the years, and said she is pleased with her appointment.
"We extend our congratulations to Commissioner Singleton on this important appointment, and look forward to working with her to keep Clayton County on the national stage, as a leader in promoting and supporting the arts as an important component in a community's economic picture, and quality of life for its citizens," said Summerlin.
She said Singleton's interest in cultural tourism brought the Tubman African-American Museum's traveling exhibit to the Arts Clayton Gallery.
"Certainly, she is a 21st Century leader in the arts," said Summerlin. "Commissioner Singleton appreciates the intrinsic value of the arts to enrich the lives of children and families in our community."