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ART BEAT: Southern Ballet Theatre gets 'Grinchy' for the holidays

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Special Photo Southern Ballet Theatre presents "A Very Grinchy Christmas" Saturday in the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center.

Saturday will be a very busy place in Gwinnett County for the arts. Southern Ballet Theatre will be offering "A Very Grinchy Christmas" at the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center on that date at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. In Suwanee, the North Gwinnett Arts Association will be holding a scholarship fundraiser in memory of member Rosemary Benavides-Williams from noon to 5 p.m.

Southern Ballet's production is based on the favorite children's book, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" by Dr. Seuss. This year will mark the third anniversary of this presentation which is quickly becoming an annual favorite. New sets and costumes will be featured along with a cast of over 50 dancers, mostly from SBT's school, the Southern Performing Arts Academy.

The Grinch will be performed by SBT's Artistic Director Brandon Chitwood and Cindy Lou-Who will be performed by Brooke Bennett, a junior at Brookwood High School. Kelly Rayborn, a senior from Peachtree Ridge, will be performing the role of Max, and Michelle White, also a senior at Brookwood, will be performing the Barbie Doll Toy.

Advance ticket prices for the event are $16.50 for adults, $14.50 for students and seniors, and $11.50 for groups of 10 or more for the same performance. They can be purchase at any Ticketmaster location or by calling 678-682-9238. At the door, the prices go to $18.50, $16.50 and $11.50.

The North Gwinnett Arts Association has developed a way to honor one of their dearly loved artists, Benavides-Williams, who passed away last spring. On Saturday from noon to 5 p.m., the NGAA will be hosting the first Fall Fundraiser to benefit a scholarship fund set up in Benavides-William's name.

"Rosemary was the embodiment of the free artist's spirit," spokesperson Patty Wessels said. "To honor her, the NGAA has set up a scholarship fund for graduating seniors to study art in college."

The day will begin at noon at the Artist's Open Studio at Unit 6B Charleston Market Place in Suwanee. NGAA artists will be demonstrating their painting skills and selling small gift items. The event then travels through a few Town Center businesses featuring a scavenger hunt. It ends at Shear Elegance Hair Salon for mini chair massages and hair consultations. Food and wine will be served in both the artists' studio and the hair salon along with raffle items and goodie bags.

Fifteen businesses have made this event possible. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased using Paypal at www.NGAA4arts.com. Tickets can also be purchased at the event.

More information about the scholarship will also be available that day.

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