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ART BEAT: Duluth Fine Arts League invites the public to a 'Tour of Italy'

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Special Photo From left to right, Jef Fincher and Judge Emily Brantley were with Donna and Jim Burton during last year's "Arts at Twilight" event held to raise money for arts scholarships.

One of Gwinnett's social activities surrounding the arts is fast approaching. The Duluth Fine Arts League will be holding its fifth annual Arts at Twilight event July 20 at Hardeman's Fine Art Glass Studio. This year, Duluth FAL invites partygoers to join it in a Tour of Italy as it raises money for high school scholarships for students planning to major in the arts.

"Tour of Italy" starts at 7 p.m. in Hardeman's Fine Art, located in the middle of downtown Duluth at 3111 Main St. Tickets are only $35 in advance and $40 at the door. They can be purchased by calling the Duluth FAL at 770-476-7328 or by visiting www.duluthfineartsleague.org.

The nonprofit began in 2008 as a Task Force Committee by Mayor Nancy Harris. Since that time, membership has grown to 70 members who are all active in supporting this project as well as bringing all types of art experiences to Duluth.

This year's Arts at Twilight promises to be great fun. Co-chaired by Ken Hardeman and Nancy Hosterman, Proof of the Pudding serves heavy Italian hors d'oeuvres as a collection of musicians plays Italian music. The night includes painters and actors on hand to give the patrons a sense of Italian art.

The party will be held in an indoor-outdoor environment as partiers travel through many parts of Italy, ranging from historic Rome to the beautiful Tuscany region. Hardeman's studio has a courtyard in the rear of the building.

"Tour of Italy brings people together for one purpose," Hardeman said. "It is a time to celebrate the arts in Duluth and raise awareness of the quality of life art can bring us. It is important to the community because it provides scholarships for high school students who can go on to fulfill their dreams of being an artist, musician, dancer, culinary artist or some field within the arts."

Duluth Mayor Nancy Harris is also very enthusiastic about the event.

"This is one of my favorite events of the year because the Duluth Fine Arts League takes this event to a higher level every year by adding more of an artistic flair," she said. "This year we have several professional designers and artists coming together to create a realistic tour of Italy. One will feel as if they have passed through several different scenarios of romantic Italy. This year we are adding a new idea: a wine auction featuring over 50 different kinds of wine ranging in values from $15 to $200."

Also, the GEM Shopping Network has donated a piece of Italian jewelry to the auction.

Major sponsors for Tour of Italy include Proof of the Pudding; Hardeman Fine Art Glass; the city of Duluth; The GEM Shopping Network; Trish Land; Peace, Love and Decorating; 2 Smith Gallery; The Best of Brews; and Duluth Fine Wines and Spirits.

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