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ART BEAT: 'Capture Culture' photo contest celebrates diversity

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Special Photo Capture Culture is a photography competition open to metro Atlanta amateur and professional shutter bugs.

It's official. Gwinnett is one of the top 10 most diverse counties in the United States, a veritable United Nations in our own backyard. In celebration of this fact, The Exchange, an organization that bridges cultures with diverse programming, announces a photography competition that invites artists to focus on the many faces and places that make up our communities not just in Gwinnett but throughout Atlanta.

The "Capture Culture Photo Contest" is designed to provide amateur and professional photographers an opportunity to showcase images portraying the many nationalities and customs of our neighbors and neighborhoods.

The contest will be open for submissions between April 1 and May 17. Winners will be notified and announced before May 31. An exhibit of the finalists will tour various community locations throughout the summer around the metro Atlanta area -- locations will be announced soon.

First, second and third place will be awarded in two categories: Best Individual Picture and Best Picture/story Series (one to four photos.) To participate, artists need to submit work at photocontest@capture-culture.com, where they can both enter and upload their photography. There will also be a People's Choice Award open to public voting via the blog at www.capture-culture.com/peopleschoice.

There is a limit of two submissions per category per participant. Work must be submitted as jpegs in the maximum quality and roughly 2,048 x 2,048 pixels. Winners will receive a variety of awards which will be on the website as well.

Judging the work will be Trent Chau of Trent Chau Photography, Marc Turnley of Marc Turnley Photography and Arch Baker of ABPic. Entry fees are $20 for general entry and $10 for students and seniors.

Capture Culture is the brain-child of The Exchange's two directors, husband and wife team Keisha and Warren Cameron. This unique company, based in Grayson, produces multicultural events and educational opportunities in the metro Atlanta area aimed at individuals as well as businesses. Some of their projects include a partnership with Georgia Gwinnett College's Excursions Concert Series, an event partner with the Hudgens Center for the Arts' VIP Reception for "The Dream: Five Black Artists, Five Voices" exhibition, the Globetrotters Book Club, a Supper Club specializing in internationally themed community meals, and 4 Corners Cuisines, an internationally inspired, community-based series of cooking classes.

"Armed with a singular mission to promote mutual understanding between cultures through hospitality, engagement and play, 'The Exchange' values friendships and supports individuals, organizations and communities as they engage and exchange across cultures," Keisha Cameron said. "We support building on the principles of communication, cooperation, collaboration, trust -- and fun! The photo contest was created in this same spirit."

Warren Cameron added, "We aim to provide opportunities that allow people to celebrate and explore culture, subsequently building relationships with one another and creating safer, healthier, more innovative communities."

For more information, visit www.exchangemc.com or email kcameron@exchangemc.com.

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