Student Showcase
Local cafe displaying artwork for a good cause

SUWANEE - The owners of ChocoLatte Cafe have opened their walls to art students at North Gwinnett High School.

The Suwanee Town Center establishment, which serves gourmet desserts and specialty coffee drinks and cocktails, is displaying paintings created by advanced draw/paint students at the Suwanee school.

The unframed "Picasso Portrait" pieces are being sold for $30, half of which goes to the student artist and half of which will be donated to the National Urea Cycle Disorders Foundation in honor of North Gwinnett art teacher Debi West's son, Croy. West said her son died three months ago after battling the metabolic disorder.

During a visit to ChocoLatte Cafe, West said she asked co-owner Tameka Thomas what she was going to do with her "big, beautiful orange walls." The owners agreed to let the students show their work.

"I've always been a huge proponent of showing the talent of our students in the community," West said.

Thomas, a Snellville resident who has three children, said it was a "mother's instinct" to help the students. Unlike galleries, the restaurant is not charging students a fee to show their work, so all proceeds will benefit the students and the charity.

"I thought it was a good way to give back to the community," she said.

The exhibit will be on display until Nov. 1. West said shows are planned until the end of the school year and will include work by the photography students and the Advanced Placement art students.

ChocoLatte Cafe, located at 3930 Charleston Market, Suite B4, opened June 27 in Suwanee Town Center.

Co-owner Stephanie Jordan, who is in charge of creating the restaurant's gourmet desserts, said the establishment "brings the city to the suburbs."

"A lot of people have to go to the city to get this kind of atmosphere," the Conyers resident said.

For more information about ChocoLatte Cafe, visit www.chocolattecafeinc.com.