Holley Calmes

Holley Calmes

Anita Stewart has been a mainstay of the visual arts and arts education community in Gwinnett for a long time. It's hard to believe that her school, "Anita's ArtsCool" has been in business for 14 years. To celebrate, Stewart is throwing open the doors on Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m., at her location at 4264 Sudderth Road, Suite B in Buford. She is inviting all of her friends and alumni to attend.

True to Stewart's creative and unorthodox talents, visitors will experience very unusual projects at this event. One of them is titled "Build + Eat" where attendees can build sculptures made of food, and then eat them. There will also be a giant canvas to which visitors can add their own individual touches.

Stewart particularly wants to see students who have graduated from her school to come back and check in with their teacher.

"We have been in business for 14 years, and we have never invited former students," she said. "Wewantto celebrate that they have taken classes with us. They are part of our history, our foundation. We would like them to come and share stories of when they took classes and let us know what they are doing now. We wouldliketo post a memory board to share this information. If former students and friends cannot attend the homecoming, we have asked that they send an email so we can use this as encouragement for any interested possible future students."

Many of Stewart's students are taking advantage of the creative, experimental atmosphere at the school.

"My teen class had a greattimewith a unique sculpture," Stewart said. "They designed playingcardsusing different characters that they designed. Four cards were made, one for each suit, and they were taped together to form arectanglesculpture. One of the students is only 10, but she holds her weight very well in the teens' class. She used maps to create her art."

On Sept. 29, Stewart will host another event titled "Artsing Together at ArtsCool."

"Due to lots of requests, we are starting to have a special day once a month where you can drop in with another person and make art memory," she said. "You can choose who to bring, and it doesn't matter what age they are as long as they are old enough to focus and participate. No art experience is necessary. We will be doing things to unwind and have fun from 2 until 4 p.m. Then we will have another session the last Saturday in October.

"We want students to walk out our door with artwork they enjoyed making and are proud of. We teach the basics of art, but we strive to help students find their niche and shine. That is why we are always trying to put student work on display outside our facility."

For more information about Anita's ArtsCool, visit www.anitasartscool.com or call 678-230-4937.

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