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ArtWorks! gives awards, presents performances

Staff Photo: John Bohn
A.J. Paug leads the a Royal Dance Academy performance by the Kingsmen to open the ArtWorks! awards ceremony held at the Buford Community Center on Monday.

Staff Photo: John Bohn A.J. Paug leads the a Royal Dance Academy performance by the Kingsmen to open the ArtWorks! awards ceremony held at the Buford Community Center on Monday.

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Staff Photo: John Bohn Bill McCargo accepts the Vision Award as The ArtWorks! awards ceremony is held at the Buford Community Center on Monday.

2013 WINNERS

Lifetime Achievement Award: Judy Waters

Corporate Arts Citizen Award for Individuals: Laura Grams

Corporate Arts Citizen Award for Organizations: Suzanna’s Kitchen

Community Impact Award for Community Partnership: Gwinnett Plein Air Challenge

Community Impact Award for Community Arts Program: Duluth Fine Arts League

Community Impact Award for Creative Business: Mighty 8th Media

Community Impact Award for Performing Artist: Sherry Ingbritsen

Community Impact Award for Visual Artist: Richard Calmes

Community Impact Award for Visual Arts Organization: Hudgens Center for the Arts

Community Impact Award for Performing Arts Organization: Gwinnett Ballet Theatre

Arts Educator of the Year Award: Debi West

Arts Volunteer of the Year Award: Suzanne Holtcamp

Community Impact Award for Arts Leaders: Anthony Rodriguez and Ann-Carol Pence

Vision Award: Bill McCargo

BUFORD — The Buford Community Center was filled with artists, supporters of the arts and everyone in between for the annual ArtWorks! Gwinnett’s Fusion Awards on Monday night.

After heavy hors d’oeuvres and mingling, attendees found their seats inside the Sylvia Beard Theatre for an award ceremony recognizing the people who made a significant impact in the Gwinnett arts scene in 2012.

“It’s been so great to have everyone tonight under one roof,” said ArtWorks! Interim Executive President Raye Varney.

To break up the show, local artists took the stage, showing off the variety of talents in the area. The Royal Dance Academy opened the night with a hip-hop dance routine, Zephyr Instrumental played a piece as well as throughout the program, and Advocate Arts performed a dance number. Later, Herman Pennamon sang “Get Over You” from his latest album “Life” and actors from the Aurora Theatre gave the crowd a sneak peek to its new musical “The Drowsy Chaperone,” which opens March 14.

“One of the things we think we accomplished with Fusion tonight is showing people all of the breadth of arts there are in Gwinnett County, and if you leave tonight thinking there are no arts in the county, you missed the entire show,” Varney said.

Beside watching the live acts, several people went home with plaques for everything ranging from the Lifetime Achievement Award to Arts Educator of the Year to Arts Volunteer, but the highest award was the Vision Award, which was given to Bill McCargo. He is a co-chair for Engage Gwinnett.

“We were glad to be able to lead Partnership Gwinnett and it came off of this notion that with all of the other great assets the area has, we really need to take it up a notch or two or three in the arts arena,” he said while accepting his award. “That’s when we really got this organization going.”

Last year, Margaret Parsons Andrews took home the top honors. She passed away in January. But like Andrews, McCargo plans to keep the county’s arts legacy strong for the future.

“The best is yet to come,” he said. “Watch out Gwinnett.”