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Hudgens Center holds annual meeting, appreciation event

Staff Photo: John Bohn
Leanne DeFrancisco, left, gives thanks to Margaret Andrews, who is honored and presented the ArtWorks! Gwinnett Vision Award at the Hudgens Center Thursday evening. DeFrancisco is the mother of Michel Parrish, 14, a student at the Hudgens Center's art school.

Staff Photo: John Bohn Leanne DeFrancisco, left, gives thanks to Margaret Andrews, who is honored and presented the ArtWorks! Gwinnett Vision Award at the Hudgens Center Thursday evening. DeFrancisco is the mother of Michel Parrish, 14, a student at the Hudgens Center's art school.

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Staff Photo: John Bohn Margaret Andrews is honored and presented the ArtWorks! Gwinnett Vision Award at the Hudgens Center Thursday evening.

DULUTH -- During the cool afternoon, the Hudgens Center for the Arts invited its Board of Directors and Trustees, employees, volunteers and other art lovers to join them outside in the garden for its annual meeting and appreciation event Thursday. Every year, the center gives out awards for those who stand out at the center and around Gwinnett County.

"I think recognition is so key for any nonprofit," Hudgens Executive Director Teresa Osborn said. "We wouldn't exist without the business owners and volunteers. It's our way to say 'thank you' to them in a very public and fun way."

This year, Carol Knight and Connie Norman won Volunteers of the Year, Linda Lindeborg and Ann Morrow took home the Chairman's Award, and ArtWorks! Gwinnett, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Primerica Foundation gained Gwinnie Awards.

But the big winner of the night was Margaret Parsons Andrews, who was the proud recipient of the ArtWorks! Gwinnett Vision Award in January. Last night, the Hudgens Center revealed the weeping cherry tree that was planted for the Gwinnett resident.

"Margaret hand drew the plans for this place (Hudgens)," Osborn said. "It was so perfect when ArtWorks! wanted to do its first Vision Award in this county that they went back in history and saw that Andrews saw (her vision) through to the end."

As rain began to fall on the attendees, Osborn give Stan Hall, the nonprofit's chairman, a gift because he had announced he was stepping down from his current position.

"It's bittersweet," Osborn said about the change in leadership. "It's like when your children are growing up and it's supposed to happen. He's led us through a period of change and growth, but we're excited to see what our new chair (Laurie Ann Kimbrell) will do for our future with her energy."

Kimbrell takes over the position July 1.