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Arts upgrade could come for Hudgens Center

LAWRENCEVILLE - Gwinnett's convention bureau director saw inspiration Friday at Raleigh's Marbles Kids Museum.

Caryn McGarity, who heads the Gwinnett Convention and Visitors Bureau, said leaders should work to repurpose the Jacqueline Casey Hudgens Center for the Arts.

The children's museum, she said, could become more creative and interactive to draw crowds like the ones she witnessed in North Carolina, as part of the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce Strategic Leadership Visit.

While she said the county's are about even on sports marketing efforts, considering the Research Triangle has the advantage of three colleges in its territory, McGarity said leaders could apply lessons to its arts movement, spurred in recent months through Partnership Gwinnett.

She said officials could work together to puts arts in the local parks and work with developers on adding art or sculpture to their projects.

"We've got a long way to go to have that kind of arts and culture in our community," McGarity said, adding that those treasures help the Research Triangle attract businesses. "It's about quality of life and economic development."