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Two cities to feature paintings, pastels, patronage

Two Gwinnett communities have art news to share. A new exhibition featuring two prominent artists is on display in Lawrenceville at the Gallery at St. Edwards. In nearby Norcross, a new movement in support of the arts has been launched.

First, Gwinnett artist Mikki Dillon said the lovely Gallery at St. Edwards Episcopal Church is featuring the work of Martha Bator and Ron Pircio through Nov. 20. Dillon has been the creative force behind this gallery at 737 Moon Road in Lawrenceville.

"Martha Bator is from Atlanta. Her vibrant pastels are in collections all over the USA and abroad," Dillon said. "She also enjoys plein air painting and is a signature member of the Pastel Society of America, Knickerbocker Artists and Plein Air Painters of Georgia."

"Ron Pircio is from Lawrenceville," Dillon added. "He works in both pastels and oils. He is also known as Ron 'Pearcio' due to his open-ended series of more than 330 pear paintings. He is also a member of the Southern Colors Art Group. "

This exhibition consists of 22 paintings in oil and pastel. There is no admission charge, and the gallery is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday. The gallery is closed Saturdays. For more information, call 770-923-5110.

Across the county in Norcross, a group of ambitious visionaries are busy organizing the Norcross Arts Alliance. Founding board members include Executive Board Chairman Vince Maiello, Lionheart Theatre Producing and Artistic Director Tanya Carroll, Anne Labaire of Labaire Pottery and Norcross Councilman Charlie Riehm. Norcross Mayor Bucky Johnson and NCACC Director Rip Robertson are acting as ex-officio members.

The Norcross Arts Alliance takes on the city's theme, "A place to imagine," in a creative way. The NAA will broadly promote the arts in Norcross, including promoting public art projects like park sculpture. It will invite touring companies to perform in the Norcross Cultural Arts and Community Center. Other ideas include sponsoring music concerts, establishing a center for photographic art, and offering art classes and demonstrations.

"Norcross has demonstrated a great desire to foster arts," Maiello said. "We have concerts in the park, a thriving community theatre, restaurants willing to display art, artisans and more. The NAA will strengthen these groups and encourage many new initiatives."

The group is developing bylaws and awaiting its nonprofit tax status. The NAA will also serve as a vital link to other arts organizations and funding sources.

Norcross businesses and individuals can also support NAA through various levels of membership. A Web site and literature is under development. However, those interested in helping this worthy effort need not wait. "We are seeking many eager volunteers to help with everything from fundraising to hosting events and providing administrative support," Maiello said. Until the new Web site is finished, those interested in NAA can e-mail Maiello at fauxsale@aol.com.

Holley Calmes is a freelance writer and public relations consultant specializing in the arts. E-mail hcalmes@mindspring.com.