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The Suwanee Welcome Center also serves as the city’s Center for Arts.

The City of Suwanee is a known mecca for the arts, so it is no surprise that city leaders concocted something very creative to welcome visitors: they gave their Welcome Center a dual purpose. The Suwanee Welcome Center is also the town’s own Center for the Arts, complete with gallery and classroom spaces.

In addition to welcoming visitors to the city, the North Gwinnett Arts Association (NGAA) is in charge of Welcome Center staffing and filling the center with locally created art. The 2,297 square foot center is located at 3930 Charleston Market Street in Town Center, “under the bright blue awning.” Business hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

In charge of staffing the center is NGAA representative Aggie Nivilinszky. She said, “When you visit our Suwanee Art Galley and Welcome Center, you are immediately greeted by one of our volunteers. You are encouraged to look around and simply enjoy the artwork which has been designed and created by someone in our very own community.”

Beginning Sept. 14, the center will offer visitors a special Members Annual Exhibition. A reception, open to the public, will be held Sept. 27 at 6:30 p.m. Seventy pieces of art will be on display, juried by Lynn Weisbach, and all artwork is for sale.

Three categories are included: two-dimensional art which can be acrylic, oil, collage, watercolor or mixed media; three-dimensional art including fiber, ceramics, metals, glass, wood, leather, jewelry and basketry; and photography which can be traditional, digital or alternative.

“This event is an exclusive opportunity for our members to showcase their talents,” Nivilinszky said. “Overall ‘Best in Show’ will be awarded along with ‘Best’ in each category.”

The Members Annual Exhibition will run through Nov. 5.

Another eagerly awaited event is the “Holiday Traditions and Fine Art Show” Nov. 12 through Jan. 7. This exhibition features affordable artwork which is especially valued for holiday gift-giving. All of the artwork is created by NGAA Members.

The “Holiday Traditions Show” will include two-dimentional and three-dimentional art in a variety of media and themes. Nivilinszky said, “This show will have paintings, photography, pottery, jewelry, mixed media, woodworking, ornaments and sculpture.”

There will be a private reception for members only, but during public hours visitors are invited to view the exhibit and get in some serious holiday shopping.

The Welcome Center/Center for the Arts has been open since 2016.

Said Nivilinszky: “Visitors and locals are welcomed to Suwanee with a high-energy, beautiful, art-filled space. In addition to getting information on the City of Suwanee, you can purchase Suwanee Swag, enjoy the art gallery filled with local art, or take a class. We offer children and adult painting, photography and calligraphy classes and workshops.”

The center has grown since first opening the doors. “There’s a renewed sense of energy that we are bringing to our Suwanee community,” Nivilinszky said.

For more information, visit www.suwanee.com/explore-suwanee/welcome-center or call 770-945-8996.

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