Our Story

Oscar N. Jonas was a noted carpet pioneer and community leader in Dalton, Georgia.  Oscar and his wife, Peggy, were advocates of the arts and among the founders of the Creative Arts Guild.  At the time of his death, Oscar served as president-treasurer of the Creative Arts Guild.

On July 25, 1968, friends of the late Oscar Jonas united with business, civic, and educational leaders to create the Oscar N. Jonas Memorial Foundation to perpetuate Oscar’s desire to enrich the lives of people in northwest Georgia through the performance and visual arts.

The first in-school art programs were held in the Dalton Public and Whitfield County Schools around 1970.  From 1972-1974, the Jonas Foundation helped sponsor Atlanta Symphony Orchestra performances at Dalton Junior College for citizens at no cost.  Ensemble groups from the orchestra performed at the local schools.  The artists provided by the Foundation were so well-received that the Parent Teacher Associations began offering funds to extend the programs.  In 2000, the Jonas Foundation also began providing art education programs in the Murray County Schools.

Presently, the Jonas Foundation provides over 250 art education programs in our three school systems each year.  We annually fund approximately ten to fourteen artists to perform these programs.

After almost 50 years of serving area children, the Foundation still honors Oscar’s vision by sponsoring performing and visual artists in our schools and promoting an integrated arts curriculum.