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Festival of Arts opens Sunday

Event at First UMC continues to grow

POSTED: March 23, 2014 12:04 a.m.
Crystal Ledford/

John Hutchinson hangs a piece of art for Cumming First United Methodist Church’s Festival of Arts, which begins today.

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CUMMING — Cumming First United Methodist Church will begin its annual Festival of Arts today.

The event, which showcases a number of different types of fine arts, runs through April 6.

John Hutchinson, arts director at the church, said the festival, which first began in 2008, has continued to grow over the years.

“We’ll have over 700 student and professional artists’ work on display throughout the festival this year,” he said, noting that the date of the event has been moved up.

“It’s a month earlier this year because Easter is late and it pushed us so far back that we said we can’t start in May because that would exclude the schools,” he said.

Each year, students from elementary, middle and high schools join the hundreds of adults who present work as part of the show.

Galleries throughout the church will be open every day from noon to 8 p.m. for the public to view the artwork for free.

Pieces range from paintings and photography to three-dimensional work such as sculpture and pottery.  

Musical artists are also included in the festival through a number of concerts, such as “Rising Stars,” highlighting the talents of young musicians at 7:30 p.m. April 2, and the North Georgia Symphony Orchestra at 7:30 p.m. April 5.

The “Rising Stars” concert is free, while the orchestra performance is $10 for adults and $5 for students.

Hutchinson said a free, one-man show will kick off the festival’s performances at 3 this afternoon.

“Brad Sherrill, a well-known and well-respected actor, will present ‘Exodus,’” Hutchinson said. “It’s a one-man theatrical performance with multimedia presentation … it’s a whole tour-de-force performance.”

Another highlight of the arts event is a student film festival at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at AMC Theater at The Collection on Peachtree Parkway.

“High school students submit films they’ve made to us and we have people who judge those and several make it into the festival,” Hutchinson explained. “Each one is about five to 10 minutes long or less, and this year we have about 15 films.

“We’ll have an audience choice award so people can vote on their favorite film.”

Cost for the student film festival is $5.

The church will also present Bach’s Lunch concerts at noon every weekend during the two weeks.

“The first week will be the performing arts departments from the five public high schools, and the second week will be will performances by Atlanta professionals,” Hutchinson said.

“Lunch is available for $5, so we can get people in and out in an hour and they can have a good lunch for just $5. It’s a great deal.”

New to the festival this year is a poetry and art contest for high school students, which was held earlier this year.

Hutchinson said winning submissions to that contest are being featured in a new coffee table book.

“There are about 25 or 30 poems and 10 or so art pieces in the book, and I have to say it looks pretty amazing,” Hutchinson said. “People can place orders for the book during the festival.”

Hutchinson is looking forward to another successful Festival of Arts this year.

“Since we’ve started, this event has really become a premiere artistic event for the whole north Georgia area,” he said. “Every year we get more and more participation so we hope to continue that trend this year.”

 

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