ART BEAT: 'Hudgens pARTy' to celebrate fusion of art, culture

The Hudgens Center will be launching a new fundraising event when they present the “Hudgen’s pARTy” at 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday. Held in the spacious galleries, gardens and spaces of the Center, the party is the inaugural fundraiser for the nonprofit fine arts organization.

The backdrop for this fling is the exhibition “Hispanoamericanos — Traveling Souls,” based on Felix Berroa’s Hispanic American Visual Arts Project. The exhibition features over 40 artists working in a wide variety of media and representing such varied countries as Argentina, El Salvador, Peru, Mexico, Chile, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Colombia.

Naturally, with such a rich cultural resource, the party will be filled with Latin themes.

“In addition to the amazing visual art, a wide variety of entertainment includes modern, classical and some interactive opportunities, all with a Latin flair,” Hudgens spokesperson Linda Murphy said. “The ‘Hudgens pARTy’ will not be a stuffy event. We planned the evening to offer choices for everyone.”

Those choices include food, drink and entertainment with Hispanic spirit. An open bar will offer signature cocktails and there will be Latin-inspired fare.

“Lavish Latin food stations include everything from street tacos to melt-in-your-mouth steak kabobs,” Murphy said.

As well as touring the beautiful visual art exhibition, party-goers can enjoy live music, dance presentations and learn a few salsa moves themselves.

“We are very excited about the evening’s entertainment lineup,” Hudgen’s board member Keisha Cameron said. “It’s set to sizzle and is sure to help make the arts come alive.”

Performers include Heidi Hernandez of “Salsa Belles,” Antonio Rodriguez from “Ballet Folklorico Danceando,” an original piece with Latin flavor by Tino Garrido’s “The Royal Dance Academy,”and the elegant “Spanish Dance” from “The Nutcracker” performed by Gwinnett Ballet Theatre ballerinas.

There is a silent auction offering some interesting prizes. Visitors can bid on an island vacation in the South Pacific, a dinner party catered by award winning chef Massimo Mariano, a private box for a Gwinnett Braves or Gladiator’s game. Then there is a “walk inside the ropes at the Champions Golf Tour,” a behind the scenes tour at the Booth Museum of Art and a Seattle Excursion filled with art, mountains, seafood and more.

Of special note for the silent auction is the participation by Kathy Fincher, an award-winning nationally renowned artist. Fincher will be creating a one-of-a-kind masterpiece live during the party, using input from attendees.

Tickets for the event are $75 each for museum members and $100 per person for non-members. (Memberships start at $30.) Creative cocktail attire is encouraged. Tickets can be purchased by visiting www.thehudgens.org or emailing Murphy at linda@exploregwinnett.org.

The Hudgens Center for the Arts is located in Gwinnett Center at 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth. For more information about the Hudgens Center and its programming, visit its website.

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