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Art beat: Gwinnett's visual arts scene buzzes with activity

Gwinnett's visual arts community has grown tremendously over the past couple of years. Now, the county can boast of several new galleries that offer not only exhibitions but activities and special events as well.

One notable occurrence has to do with admission prices, or the lack thereof. The Hudgens Center has always had a modest entry fee since it opened its doors in Gwinnett Center in the early 1990s. However, the board of directors has decided to forego this fee and has opened the building's doors to everyone free of charge.

"We are not currently charging an admissions fee. This will be our policy at least through the end of the year," Acting Executive Director Teresa Osborn said. She also adds that now families and everyone interested can come to view the wonderful "Gifts from Africa" exhibition at no charge.

An impressive collective of artists in Gwinnett is found at Tannery Row in Buford. This group has put together an exhibition titled "Safari: An Art Adventure." The opening reception will be from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday.

The exhibition is described as follows: "Safari, the art show, encompasses that journey with an array of artworks including, but not limited to, paintings, sculpture, glass, jewelry, metal and clay. It's an adventure in textures, from the windswept plains painted across canvas to the jungle sounds of beating drums. It's an adventure in color, from the desert tans to tropical greens and blues. And, it's an adventure of exploration for wild animals, for unexplored territory, for the unexpected." The show continues through Dec. 5. For more information on Tannery Row, its artists and history, visit www.tanneryrowartistcolony.com.

One of Buford's newest galleries is found just down the street from Tannery Row. Gio'Vairs opened in August 2007 and is operated by Gallery Director Arlesia Diarra. Located at 75 E. Main St. in Buford, the gallery has become a meeting place for not only visual art, but for performance artists, writers, poets and other creative people.

Now the gallery invites the public to an "Evening in the Caribbean" beginning at 7 p.m. Oct. 25. The cover charge is $25, and $5 of that goes to helping hurricane victims in the Caribbean. The event is described as Caribbean live music, a featured poet, artists at work, viewing some of the finest original artwork in historic Buford, fashions, raffles, prizes, Caribbean food, drinks and a chance to win a free private tennis lesson, just to name a few.

The gallery has another exciting announcement. It will be the first location for "Art with Arlesia," a new television production. "Art with Arlesia" will focus on artists' lives, their stories, their struggles and their passion which unfold and come alive through the various mediums we know as "art." The idea is a collaboration inspired by Arlesia and media mogul, Annette D. Colbert-Beavers, CEO of Visage Production of Georgia Inc. Visage Production of Georgia Inc. is a division of Visage Production Inc. located in Oklahoma City. The new office for Visage Production of Georgia Inc. will be in Buckhead. More details to come! For information on Cio'Vairs, visit www.giovairsgalleries.com.