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ART BEAT: Fine Arts League to bring Terry Kay to Duluth

Holley Calmes

Holley Calmes

"To Dance with the White Dog" is a much lauded book, and its author, Terry Kay, is one of Georgia's most recognized and popular authors. What better choice to be the first book and first author selected for the Duluth Fine Arts League's first Duluth Reads event?

Fans of the book and the author can meet Kay on at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Duluth City Hall. Duluth Reads has been launched as a project of the growing Duluth Fine Arts League.

Duluth Mayor Nancy Harris said, "The vision of the Duluth Fine Arts League is to educate and engage residents in a variety of arts experiences. The Duluth Reads project is an attempt to foster reading and have people engage with the author."

The "shared experience" of a group of people reading the same book at the same time, and coming together to discuss it, is a popular one. The book and author chosen for this event have a wide appeal. "To Dance with the White Dog" was written in 1990 and received a Southeastern Library Association award for Kay as Outstanding Author of the Year in 1991.

Many people are familiar with the story from its televised version as a Hallmark Hall of Fame telecast starring Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy. It was filmed on location in Georgia. The movie premiered Dec. 5, 1993, on CBS, and it was nominated for many awards. Cronyn won an Emmy award for his performance.

The story is about an elderly couple who live a happy life in rural Georgia. When the wife dies suddenly, the husband begins to see a white dog on the property. Trouble is, he is the only one who can see it until little by little, others become aware of the white dog, too. The story is poignant and heartwarming, and it is universal in its appeal.

Duluth Reads is only one of a list of projects launched by the DFAL.

"The Duluth Fine Arts League is doing very well," Harris said. "We are in our third year now, and our membership continues to grow. We have 60 people signed up to receive our newsletter each month. We continue to focus our fundraising on scholarships for seniors going into the arts after high school."

The DFAL has two fund raisers a year: Arts at Twilight in July and the Holiday Walking Tour of Homes in December.

The next event after Duluth Reads will be an Art Walk on June 3. Artist Cher Austin is in charge of all of the Art Walks.

The DFAL is a non-profit organization serving residents, artists and visitors to Duluth and its surrounding cities and counties. Its mission is to encourage individual and corporate participation in the performing, literary and visual arts in the greater Duluth area. Established in 2008 as a Task Force Committee by Harris, by early 2009 they had a working committee involved in sub-committees and new projects involving the arts.

The DFAL welcomes new members. Their meetings are ar 7 p.m. the third Wednesday of each month at Duluth Studios. Duluth Studios is located at 3530 W. Lawrenceville St. in Duluth.

For more information about Kay's appearance or about any of the many activities of the DFAL, visit the website at www.artsduluth.org.

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