ART BEAT: ArtWorks! Gwinnett Awards ceremony creates a 'fusion' themed event

The ArtWorks! Gwinnett Awards ceremony on Jan. 23 will fill the Hudgens Center for the Arts with representatives of many arts organizations and community leaders.

The event is aptly named "Fusion: 1st annual ArtWorks! Gwinnett Awards" as it celebrates the full array of arts and creativity in Gwinnett. The impact of having an organization to support our county's arts is welcomed by the arts community, and an awards celebration to feature individuals and organizations who have contributed to the cultural life of the area is definitely something to support.

Everyone who loves the arts is welcome to attend this first edition of the awards. Tickets are $80 for members and $100 for non-members, and space is limited.

Those who wish to help launch the annual awards need to act quickly by visiting the organization's website for ordering information at artworksfusion.eventbrite.com or email info@artworksgwinnett.com for personal assistance.

Response to the nominating process was strong. ArtWorks! Gwinnett Executive Director Sally Corbett said, "Our call for input yielded nominations for well-known artists and organizations as well as people who play important roles behind the scenes."

For example, the "Lifetime Achievement Award" nominees read like a who's who of the Gwinnett arts scene: Ann Parsons Odum, Barbara Howard, Cynthia Sutt and Lee Bivens.

Among the nominees for "Corporate Arts Citizen -- Business" is Primerica, the Gwinnett Daily Post and Chocolate Perks. All of the nominees can be found on the organization's website at www.artworksgwinnett.com.

The awards ceremony came to life as an idea introduced a few years ago in a meeting with the organization's Board of Doers. Gwinnett leaders from sectors such as libraries, education, artists and arts supporters knew that the arts deserved and needed a forum for recognition.

"The Board agreed to make this our first major public event and fundraiser," Corbett said.

The event theme -- "fusion" -- represents the mix of artistic disciplines, genres and cultural traditions that make Gwinnett distinct.

"This awards program shines a light on the depth and variety of high quality artistic work taking place in our community. Many people are just realizing that the Gwinnett arts community is very extensive," Corbett said. "There are hundreds of professionals at work every day on arts related projects in our 15 Gwinnett cities. ArtWorks! is promoting the nominees and winners within and beyond the county, receiving the attention of grant makers, agents and others who work for artists and arts organizations."

The evening, sponsored by Georgia Power, anonymous ArtWorks! Gwinnett Board members and Jackson EMC will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a reception featuring music by jazz guitarist Dan Coy. Food is provided by Proof of the Pudding, Chocolate Perks, Trattoria 141, Ippolito's, Olde Town Tavern, Taqueria Los Hermanos and more. Master of Ceremonies Vince Bailey will kick off the awards program at 7:30 p.m., and Zephyr Music, led by Kerry Fetter, will present the Gwinnett premiere of "The Elements -- Air, Fire, Water and Earth."

For more information, email info@artworksgwinnett.com.

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