ART BEAT: Gwinnett Public Library helps visitors "Fall into the Arts" with Visual Arts Exhibitions

The Gwinnett Public Library will again present a special program called "Fall Into the Arts," this year beginning Saturday and continuing through October. The event will feature the visual arts, drama and music in various venues around the county, all of them free and open to the public.

The "celebration of the arts" begins with the visual arts being incorporated into four different GPL branches. The Buford, Dacula, Grayson and Lilburn branches will all feature two or more visual artists. To kick off the event, a special reception will be held for the artists at each of the branches from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday.

In October, three other major events will also shine the spotlight on Gwinnett's rich artistic life. On Oct. 4, the Aurora Theatre, located in downtown Lawrenceville, will present "Gray Area," a play described as "a delightfully uncivil adult comedy." On Oct. 6 at 7 p.m., "Gwinnett Reads 2011" will host New York Times bestselling author Siddhartha Mukherjee, whose work "The Emperor of All Maladies" won this year's Pulitzer Prize. The appearance and book signing will be held in the Grand Ballroom, Salons 1 and 2, at the Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth.

An evening of music will end the event on Oct. 29, 8 p.m. with "An Evening at the Suwanee Music Barn." This event held at 4055 Stonecypher Road in Suwanee, features delightful bluegrass music of the talented Everett Family Band.

For more information about these events, and for tickets and availability, go to www.gwinnettfallintothearts.org or call 770-978-5154.

The program's kickoff highlighting the visual arts is anticipated with much excitement by the Library.

"We are thrilled with the opportunity to highlight our local artists. I would encourage the community to make plans to tour these four branches so that they can experience each exhibit that is so unique to each artist," GPL spokesperson Casey K. Wallace said.

The Buford branch, located at 2100 Buford Highway, will feature the work of Jim Mengason, a watercolorist who has designed sets for the Wilmington Opera Society and is active in several local arts groups. In addition, Rosemary Williams will be showing her award-winning watercolor work. Rosemary presently teaches watercolor classes at Sugar Hill Community Center.

In Dacula, the library will focus on the artwork of Lois Colborn and Jean Richardson. Colborn is a member of the Georgia Watercolor Society and a popular exhibitor in many juried shows. Richardson has won awards in the Georgia National fair in Perry, as well as locally. The address is 265 Dacula Road.

The Grayson branch, at 700 Grayson Parkway, will be showing the work of three artists. Ralph Beach is a member of the Georgia Watercolor Society and a member of Northeastern University's African-American Master Artist-in-Residence program. Liz Borkhuis is a member of Art Station in Stone Mountain and exhibits her work locally at galleries, art and craft shows. Dorette Smith found that a "new world of color began to spill from the tips of her pencils" when she retired from her teaching career.

The Library in Lilburn, located at 788 Hillcrest Road, will exhibit the work of Latifah Shakir and Judith Surowiec. Shakir is from New Orleans and has exhibited her work in the U.S. and abroad. Surowiec, a member of the famous Tannery Row Artists Colony, paints with a colorful energy.

For more information about Fall Into the Arts and addresses of the Library branches, visit the website at www.gwinnettfallintothearts.org or call 770-978-5154.

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