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Cumming FUMC celebrating decade of community art
CUMC ArtShow 71335
Paintings, sculptures, music and films are among the works on display this week and next at Cumming First United Methodist Churchs Festival of the Arts. - photo by Micah Green

Schedule of exhibits and performances

The gallery at Cumming First United Methodist (770 Canton Highway) will be open each day noon-8 p.m., with the following additional special events:

* Wednesday, April 26, 6-7 p.m.: Student reception and awards announcements

* Friday, April 28, 10 a.m.: The North Forsyth High School Theater Department will perform “Godspell Jr.”

* Sunday, April 30, 8:45 and 11 a.m.: Student music Sunday will include the Student Choral Ensemble and guest vocal and instrumental ensembles from the Forsyth County Schools

* Sunday, April 30, 7:30 p.m.: Organist Oak Martin, 2016 winner of the Rising Stars Concert/Competition at the festival, will perform and be joined by flutist Cain Oscar Bergeron. This year’s Professional Visual Show winners will also be announced

* Tuesday, May 2, 7:30 p.m.: The ‘mIfilm’ Student Film Festival will be held at the AMC Theater at The Collection; admission is $5

* Wednesday, May 3, 7:30 p.m.: Rising Stars Concert/Competition

* Sunday, May 7: Final day of exhibits. Galleries close at 2 p.m.

Paintings, sculptures, music and films are among the works on display this week and next at Cumming First United Methodist Church’s Festival of the Arts.

Founder John Hutchinson said the 10th annual Festival of the Arts, which kicked off last weekend and will go through May 7, features all types of artwork from Forsyth County and the Southeast.

“We’ve got professional work from artists in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama,” Hutchinson said. “Then we have student artwork from the Forsyth County public schools. So, three floors of art in the building, and it’s just a big event for us.

“We’ve got everything you can imagine and then some.”

The gallery is open daily noon-8 p.m. all days except for Sunday, May 7, when it will close at 2 p.m. Cumming First United Methodist Church is located at 770 Canton Highway.

Hutchinson said about 350 visitors came on the first day alone and for a joint performance from the choral ensembles from the University of North Georgia and Brenau University. Several concerts and events will be held this week and next.

“We’ve got a big student reception coming on [Wednesday] night, as well as a big concert this Sunday night featuring a young organists [Oak Martin]; he’s 16 years old and was the winner of the rising stars concert and competition last year, which is part of our festival,” Hutchinson said.

On Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., the mlfilm Student Film Festival will be held at the AMC Theater at the Collection. The film festival will feature projects made by Forsyth County students, and admission is $5.

Hutchinson said the church has traditionally been the center of arts culture in the community and that leaders decided to continue that a decade ago. In that time, the event has seen a lot of growth.

“The church, historically, was the employer of all the artists. When you’re building a cathedral, you hired painters, you hired sculptors, you hired musicians, you hired tapestry weavers, I mean everything,” he said.

“So, we kind of decided a decade ago that we wanted to get involved with doing that again, and we started with about 28 artists and a couple of schools and it has grown and grown until we have featured hundreds of artists over the years and given away probably well over $100,000 of prize money.”

Around $16,000 is given annually to winners, which Hutchinson said makes the whole event worthwhile.

“To hand a check for $1,000 to a high school student who has won the major award or one of our major awards and hear them say, ‘This is the only thing I have ever received in recognition of my artwork’ is pretty great, honestly,” Hutchinson said. “It really warms your heart.”