In a time of uncertainty for many arts organizations nationwide, Gwinnett County has proven that “where there’s a will, there’s a way.” Gwinnett’s official tourism organization has stepped forward with significant and much needed support through its Creativity Fund Project Grants.
Explore Gwinnett, the marketing brand for the Gwinnett Convention and Visitors Bureau, has announced that 12 Creativity Fund Grants in the amount of $80,700 will be given in support of arts and cultural initiatives taking place throughout the first quarter of 2021.
“Explore Gwinnett is honored to administer the Gwinnett Creativity Fund, and we are looking forward to seeing these unique arts projects come to fruition,” Explore Gwinnett Executive Director Lisa Anders said.
“2020 has been an especially tough year for our arts partners. The Gwinnett Creativity Fund granted over $130,000 to local nonprofits this year through both Operations Grants and Project Grants. We are thrilled to be able to support their individual missions through our latest project grants.”
As an indication of how the arts have grown in Gwinnett, the list of grant recipients includes both familiar names and exciting organizations newer to the Gwinnett arts scene. Many funded projects also reflect new methods of delivering art to the community in the midst of the pandemic. Others focus on, support, and celebrate specific populations.
Three of the most familiar and established groups are the Aurora Theatre, the Hudgens Center for the Arts and Gwinnett Ballet Theatre.
♦ The Aurora Theatre received $10,000 for “2 the Left: A Tribute to the Life of Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopez, A Streaming Experience.” The project consists of a prerecorded streaming musical based on the life of the controversial 90’s pop icon.
♦ The Hudgens Center received $10,000 for “Healing Arts: Project Welcome Home,” a virtual program for military veterans who struggle with PTSD and re-assimilation, aiming to build community through the arts and develop coping skills through artistic expression.
♦ Gwinnett Ballet Theatre received $7,500 to mount its annual production of “The Nutcracker” which launches its new professional company performing alongside Sugarloaf Youth Ballet.
Some interesting newer groups include ESTA Solutions, Inc which received $2,000 for “Atlanta African Film and Fashion Festival” and Let’s Foo-kes, Inc., which received $5,000 for “Let’s Fo-kes Presents AADR,” an African American dance experience.
Spectrum Autism Support Group received $3,100 for “Spectrum Drama Club.” Suwanee Public Arts Commission received $10,000 for a new “Buford Highway Mural.”
Broad St. Concert Band at Sugar Hill, Inc. received $10,000 for “A Bowl of Sweet Sounds,” a 3- D Public Art musical motif. Suwanee Performing Arts received $3,500 for “Best of the Nutcracker.”
Lionheart Theatre Company was awarded $1,858 for “Playing in the Dark Festival,” a walking event featuring stories, a magic show, and a live play.
North Gwinnett Arts Association/Suwanee Arts Center received $4,600 in support of its “Fall Outdoor Art Workshop Series” consisting of 12 outdoor art workshops for adults and youth.
Holley Calmes is a freelance writer and public relations consultant specializing in the arts. Email her at hcalmes@ mindspring.com.