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ART BEAT: Duluth Fine Arts League offers scholarships to Duluth High School seniors

For the past two years, the Duluth Fine Arts League has quietly given scholarships to talented Duluth High School seniors planning to major in the arts in college. This year, the league decided to let everyone in on the event.

Six Duluth High School seniors will be vying for three scholarships at a public audition taking place in the New Dawn Theater on from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Scholarships are $1,500 each for the first- and second-place winners, and $1,000 for the third-place winner. Students can be visual artists or musicians.

New Dawn is hosting this event at no charge because of its own commitment to the arts. Winners will be announced at the event and there will be refreshments.

"We have a lot of talent in Duluth, and we are so happy to be a part of recognizing it by awarding scholarships," DFAL member Lucile Walker said.

These scholarships have been funded by the DFAL through their annual "Arts at Twilight" party. This year's party is from 7 to 10 p.m. July 14 with the theme "An Evening in Paris." The event will consist of entertainment, hors d'ouevres, wine and champagne, and a silent auction. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door.

Scholarships so far have affected the lives of four talented graduates of Duluth High School. The first year's winners in 2010 were Allana Fox, who is now studying music composition at the University of South Carolina and Wen Chen, studying fashion design at Pratt University.

In 2011, the winners were Chelsea Sharpe who studies violin at Rice University and Keary Mobley who is now studying music technology at Georgia State University.

The six young artists vying for this year's grants will be judged by a very august panel of experts. The judges for this year's event are Sarah Black, Robert Egizio, Dan Adkins, Kathy Fincher, Jennifer Freeman, Terrie Adkins, Peggy Smith and Eddie Owen.

Owen is well known throughout the Atlanta area for his famous "Eddie's Attic" venue in Decatur, one of the most important stops in the nation for A-list acoustic artists such as John Mayer, Sheryl Crow and more. He will be joined by Egizio, producing artistic director of the Stage Door Players, Black, orchestra teacher at North Gwinnett Middle School, and Dan Atkins, who has had success as a television actor and costume supervisor for many TV shows as well as scoring four independent films and composing five theater pieces.

Visual artists will be judged by Freeman of Mosaic Odyssey, Smith of the DFAL, Terrie Adkins, a major supporter of the Aurora Theatre, and Fincher, Duluth's own nationally known visual artist who many people call the "feminine Norman Rockwell."

Event Chairman Mary Buck welcomes all to the event and looks forward to the future.

"We hope to continue to grow the program by expanding our boundaries to include more students," she said.

For more information and for tickets to "An Evening in Paris," visit www.artsduluth.org.

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