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ART BEAT: Kudzu members’ art show to be held at historic courthouse

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Artwork created by such prominent local artists as David Raderstorf will be on display in the exhibit You Be the Judge at the Gwinnett Historic Courthouse from Jan. 24 through April 11. (Special Photo)

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Holley Calmes

Kudzu Art Zone artists will be taking their work outside of the usual location in Norcross and will hold their members’ exhibition, You Be the Judge, at the Gwinnett Historic Courthouse from Jan. 24 through April 11. A special opening reception, free to the public, will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 24.

Courthouse viewing hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The courthouse is in downtown Lawrenceville at 185 W. Crogan St. There is no admission fee to enjoy the exhibition.

Kudzu’s membership is at 100, and many of these members have won local and national awards. Kudzu’s webmaster James Mengason said, “With the courthouse exhibition, we hope to increase the knowledge of our organization and give our members an opportunity to show their work to a larger audience.”

There is also a People’s Choice Award, hence the title You Be the Judge.

“This time the ‘jury’ is the visitors who are invited to vote for their favorite works,” Mengason said. “We will have approximately 45 paintings in all mediums.”

Mengason is an artist himself, working in watercolor, pastels and acrylics. Another leader of the organization who will have work in this exhibition is David Raderstorf, the organization’s president and managing director.

Raderstorf retired early after working in the textile industry for 30 years. His “art journey” began when an artist friend asked him what he was going to do during retirement. When Raderstorf answered that he might paint, the friend eventually gave him a set of watercolors and the adventure began. After taking a class at the Gwinnett Senior Center and eventually finding center instructor Shirley Shepherd, Raderstorf began a new career that resulted in his becoming an award-winning artist.

Raderstorf won first place in the professional division at the Georgia State National Fair competition in 2011 and was asked to be Artist in Residence for 2012. He was also recognized by the Georgia Watercolor Society as a signature member in 2012. Not only is he the Kudzu president and managing director, he is also president of the Norcross Arts Alliance and on the advisory committee of the city of Lilburn’s new arts alliance.

In addition to You Be the Judge, Kudzu is presenting the First Annual Southwest Gwinnett Student Juried Art Exhibition in conjunction with the Southwest Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce and Objet d’Art Studio and Gallery. The show features artwork created by student artists from grades K-12 from Norcross, Berkeley Lake and Peachtree Corners.

This student exhibition at Kudzu’s gallery is on display from from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. There is no admission fee.

For more information about Kudzu, You Be the Judge or the student exhibition, visit www.kudzuartzone.org or call 770-840-9844.

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