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Column: Atlanta History Center to celebrate Mexican heritage
by Sally F. White
Northside Neighbor Columnist
October 24, 2012 11:33 AM | 3542 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sally White, Northside Neighbor Columnist
Sally White, Northside Neighbor Columnist

The Atlanta History Center in Buckhead is offering an annual family Day of the Dead (Dia de Muertos) public program Sunday to explore the ancient festival rooted in Mexican heritage as a way for families to remember and honor their deceased loved ones while celebrating children and continuity of life.

The outdoor family event is free to center members and the general public, but the center is offering half-off admission to its buildings, grounds and houses for $8.25 for adults, $6.50 for students and seniors, $5.50 children 4 to 12 and free for kids 3 and under. The program is supported by Instituto de Mexico, the Mexican consulate and the Fulton County Board of Commissioenrs, under the guidance of the Fulton County Arts Council.

Smiling faces, swirling colors, storytelling, decorated altars and authentic Mexican music and dance will be the highlights of the celebration. Visiting performance groups from Mexico will replicate authentic folk music and dance.

Food and drink will be available for purchase — also with authentic Mexican flavors.

Founded in 1926, the center’s all-inclusive, 33-acre campus includes the Atlanta History Museum, two historic houses (the Swan House and the 1860 Tullie Smith Family Farm), the Centennial Olympic Games Museum, six historic gardens, the Kenan Research Center, the Grand Overlook event space, Chick-fil-A at the Coca-Cola Café and a museum shop. The center also manages the restored Margaret Mitchell House in Midtown, where the Atlantan wrote her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, “Gone With the Wind.” It includes an exhibition highlighting Mitchell’s life.

The center’s education programs serve more than 60,000 area schoolchildren and thousands of families each year.

Tickets and information: (404) 814-4000 or

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The Evening of Inspiration Saturday at the Loews Hotel in Midtown will bring together a community of warm-hearted people to join in support of advancing pediatric brain tumor research through the Sandy Springs-based Ian’s Friends Foundation.

The 2012 Lifetime Friend Award will be given to Doug Hertz.

“Doug is so deserving of this year’s award,” said Phil Yagoda, who started the foundation with his wife Cheryl. “Since our inception, his commitment to our cause and the foundation has been exemplary — from phone calls to direction, Doug has always lent an ear, a shoulder and a hand. We are truly grateful for what he has done and continues to do to ensure children have a chance for another day.”

The night of dinner and dancing is being co-chaired by Kasey Asarch and Barbara Roos.

The foundation was started by the Yagoda family in 2007 when their 2-year-old son, Ian, was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. The nonprofit’s mission is to support initiatives at research institutions in the U.S. that focus on developing alternative therapeutic methodologies for treatment of pediatric brain tumors to save the lives of thousands of children around the world. Current lifechanging research projects supported locally are at the Emory University School of Medicine, the Georgia Institute of Technology and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

Tickets and information: (404) 966-0752 or visit

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The Members Guild of the Atlanta History Center in Buckhead is opening its first official meeting of the year Oct. 31 to encourage women interested in Atlanta’s environs and history to join forces and support history-oriented programs there.

Richard Rene Silvin, author and formost authority on the duke and duchess of Windsor, is the guest speaker for the morning event. His talk will focus on the captivating duchess of Windsor and his latest book, “The Duchess of Windsor as I Knew Her.”

Silvin was the widowed duchess’ escort in Paris and has selected representative pictures for an audio-visual presentation of the iconic duchess as background for his lecture. The images span every decade of the Windsor’s fascinating lives.

The program is free to guild members and $20 for non-members.

Guild members volunteer to support the center with special activities using the facility’s many historic resources and host above-and-beyond fundraising events to expand educational activities. Cecilia Wright is the guild’s current president.

Tickets and information: (404) 814-4120 or

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Atlanta’s elegant Meal to Remember fundraiser will celebrate a silver anniversary Nov. 2 at the St. Regis in Buckhead.

This year’s black-tie gourmet event will once again benefit the volunteer nonprofit Meals On Wheels Atlanta program.

In celebration of past successes, the 2012 gala will feature a formal cocktail reception and a multi-course dinner in honor of past co-hairs — many of whom are in the top echelon of Atlanta’s philanthropy community. Local chefs serving as consultants in support of Meals On Wheels are: Gerry Klaskala from Aria, Pano Karatassos Jr. from Kyma, Ami Dand from A Legendary Event, Joe Trevino from the St. Regis and Jerome Grilhot. Wine pairings will be selected by Michael Venezia of United Distributors.

Event co-chairs for this year are Cindy Voyles, Harrison Rohr and Jack Sawyer, supported by more than 40 dedicated committee members.

Proceeds from the event translate directly to the nonprofit Meals On Wheels Atlanta program to support senior independence through food, shelter, education and community. It was created as a volunteer-based agency in 1965 to meet the nutrition and human contact needs of homebound seniors in the metropolitan area, delivering its first meal in 1970. Last year more than 100,000 meals were delivered to hundreds of homebound seniors. To serve each senior more efficiently, Meals On Wheels Atlanta has entered into collaboration with multiple service providers across the metro area to maximize the benefit of each charitable dollar.

Since the first Meal to Remember benefit in 1988, nearly $5 million has been raised to support the Atlanta program to aid and nourish frail or homebound seniors. Volunteers are integral to the preparing and delivering proper nutrition and connecting seniors to their community.

Tickets and information: (404) 605-8450 or

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The Legendary Party benefiting Shepherd Center in Buckhead has become a social legend itself since the first black-tie dinner spotlighted the nonprofit medical center in 1989. This year’s Nov. 3 black-tie gala at the Ritz-Carlton in Buckhead will have an “American Splendor” theme from cocktails to a seated dinner in the patriotic ballroom and dancing afterward.

Décor by Tony Conway will reflect Americans’ true spirit from Washington to New York and across the nation. This year’s funds will go the center’s SHARE Military Initiative that provides a continuum of rehabilitative care for military service members who have sustained a traumatic brain injury while serving the U.S. on active duty in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Honorary co-chairs are Faye and Lewis Manderson and Dr. Donald Peck Leslie. The Mandersons have been longtime supporters of Shepherd. Leslie began his career there in 1983 and has been medical director since 2005.

The Legendary Party chair is Kay Quigley with Karen Spiegel standing by as chair-elect. Host committee co-chairs are Leslie McLeod, Jack Sawyer and Dr. Bill Torres.

A special patron party to honor the sponsors was held at the Northside home of Elaine and John Carlos in September.

Shepherd is a private, nonprofit Atlanta hospital founded in 1975 specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal-cord and brain injuries, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain and other neurological conditions.

Tickets and information: (404) 350-7302 or visit

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The Bill Lowe Gallery in Midtown will be the setting Nov. 3 for the second ArtCAN evening of cocktails, hors d’ouvres by the Capital Grille and fine art to benefit pancreatic cancer research.

Forty-four participating artists from around the world were selected by an esteemed curatorial panel to offer a wide variety of works for auction with funds going to the Joseph C. Monastra Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research.

Artists hail from as far away as Korea, Finland and Ireland and as nearby as metro Atlanta, including Decatur and Marietta. The success of last year’s art-oriented benefit has challenged this year’s distinguished panel of curators to offer an even wider range of fine art at auction. Curators for 2012 are Marianne Lambert, Jerry Cullum, Timothy Tew and Hope Cohn.

To encourage casual art lovers and serious collectors, Lambert said, “I have sat on jury selections for many art auctions and find the art submitted for ArtCAN to be of superior quality. It is indicative of the personal love and concern these talented artists have for curing pancreatic cancer. They care enough to give their very best!”

The evening’s keynote speaker will be Dr. Christine lacobuzio-Donahue, professor of pathology and oncology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md.

Hosting co-chairs are WSB-TV news anchor Carol Sbarge and Pamela Monastra, the foundation’s founding member.

The foundation was established in 2002 in honor of the father and husband who passed away after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Funds from the art affair will go directly to support pancreatic cancer research at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, where researchers have discovered there are two types of pancreatic cancer and they are moving to find an early detection and cure for the “silent killer.”

Tickets and information: (404) 391-2169 or visit


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Time to plan ahead for special Santa encounters for your young ones! The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation in Midtown is once again setting the scene for its annual Santa at Rhodes Hall visits for youngsters Dec. 1 through 16. Families are invited to relax and delight in a winter wonderland at the beautiful historic “Castle on Peachtree” to enjoy holiday music, delicious refreshments and exciting art activities, while little ones whisper their wish list to Santa during personal appointments. Limited appointments can be reserved starting today. The cost is $35 per family and those with more than four children are asked to register for an additional time slot.

Folks will not want to miss this unique, heartwarming opportunity to visit Santa at Rhodes Hall. Admission covers entertainment, refreshments from area caterers, and a 5-by-7-inch photo with Santa. Participants can also bring their own camera or video recorder for a nominal $10. All proceeds support the trust’s activities.

Founded in 1973, the trust is one of the country’s largest statewide, nonprofit preservation organizations. It is committed to preserving and enhancing Georgia’s communities and their diverse historic resources for the education and enjoyment of all.

Historic Rhodes Hall, located at 1516 Peachtree St., is the 1904 original residence of Amos Rhodes, founder of Rhodes Furniture. It has been restored by the trust to its original charm. Today it houses a museum, headquarters for the statewide trust and a venue for social events.

Santa reservations and information: (404) 885-7812 or visit

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