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People Helping People: Why the arts are important?

Why is art important? Why is it important in tough economic times when so many people are struggling?

Art has the power to touch your soul. To inspire you, to engage you. Think about the movies you love, the music you sing to, the paintings you admire or have in your home. But you may ask, when there are so many pressing problems, why is art important?

What does art mean for children?

What does art mean for our community?

What does art mean for you?

Americans for the Arts believes that the arts are essential to the health and vitality of our communities and our nation:

n Aesthetics: The arts create beauty and preserve it as part of culture.

n Creativity: The arts encourage creativity, a critical skill in a dynamic world.

n Expression: Artistic work lets us communicate our interests and visions.

n Identity: Arts goods, services, and experiences help define our culture.

n Innovation: The arts are sources of new ideas, futures, concepts, and connections.

n Preservation: Arts and culture keep our collective memory intact.

n Prosperity: The arts create millions of jobs and enhance economic health.

n Skills: Arts aptitudes and techniques are needed in all sectors of society and work.

n Social Capital: We enjoy the arts together, across races, generations, and places.

The Jacqueline Casey Hudgens Center for the Arts is the place for art in Gwinnett County! Dedicated to bringing art lovers, leaders and learners together through quality programs and exhibits, The Hudgens offers something for everyone. You, and your children, can take classes and workshops in painting, drawing, pottery, jewelry making and other topics. Summer art camp brings memories that last a lifetime.

You can enjoy stunning art in the Fowler Gallery, Kistner Atrium, School Gallery, Rowe Promenade and Education Gallery from nationally recognized artists as well as community artists. School groups can come in for a guided tour and hands on activity. Scouts can earn badges and explore the world of art in many forms. You can purchase wonderful original art (paintings, pottery, jewelry, and more) in the Glass Pyramid Art Store. The Art Zone provides a place for children, or the child within you, to express creativity. In the Al Weeks Sculpture Garden, you can have the wedding of your dreams or play checkers, chess or just relax by the water pond.

Art is important - to you, your family, and our community. The Hudgens Center for the Arts is important because it is the place for you, and our community, to experience the arts in many ways. There is so much to see and do. Come see for yourself. For more information call us at 770-623-6002 or visit our Web site www.thehudgens.org.

Teresa Osborn is executive director of the Hudgens Center for the Arts.

People Helping People is a weekly column written by the executive directors of nonprofit organizations in Gwinnett County. Need help or know someone that does? The Gwinnett Helpline directs callers to the appropriate nonprofit agency. Call 770-995-3339.