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Column: Contemporary arts center spotlights emerging talent
by Sally F. White
Northside Neighbor Columnist
September 26, 2012 12:18 AM | 4913 views | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sally White, Northside Neighbor Columnist
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Fourteen artists are participating in the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center’s two-tiered “Open Studios: Meet & Three” program Friday at the center’s Means Street location in Midtown. Always a fun event, it is a great way to bring together artists, collectors, enthusiasts and art professionals in a relaxed and accessible atmosphere and enjoy the ambiance with food, drinks and live music.

Studio work spaces will be open to ticket holders from 7 to 11 p.m. with entertainment added in common space from 9 to 11 p.m.

The title is a riff on the familiar southern-style restaurant where customers select one meat and three side dishes. The “meat” enables the public to converse with talented artists in their private spaces and see the range of their paintings, sculptures, photographs, videos and mixed media works. The “three” combines tasty food by Figs & Honey Catering with drinks from a cash bar and music by femme fatale singer Bernadette Seacrest.

The center is a nonprofit, non-collecting institution dedicated to the creation, presentation and advancement of contemporary art by emerging and established artists. The Studio Artist program supports 14 selected local artists through a juried application process and provides subsidized space in a collaborative environment for their creative process.

The unique program fills a critical need in the Atlanta arts community — affordable studio space and career development opportunities for artists. It also creates a diverse cultural landscape for other artists, arts professionals and the art-interested public through exhibitions and educational programming.

Tickets and information: (404) 688-1970, ext. 214 or visit

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In 1962 when the late entertainer Danny Thomas opened the doors to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., he not only changed lives of children who walked through its doors but also the lives of sick children and their families across the world.

On Sunday the Cedar Club of Atlanta is hosting the hospital’s 50th anniversary celebration at the fabulous Fox Theatre’s Egyptian Ballroom in Midtown to benefit the world-class facility and its mission to push the survival rate for children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

The evening of dining and live entertainment will follow “A Magic Carpet Ride” theme tracing the original vision of the compassionate founder to the hospital’s present day phenomenal childhood survival rate of 80 percent. Live and silent auctions will add to the fundraising aspects of the event.

Sharing co-chair duties for the event are: Mike Hiffa, Dr. Albert F. Johary, Kam Nassar, Michael Shikany and Gina Thomas.

The event will be hosted by the Cedar Club of Atlanta Foundation, the nonprofit arm of the century-old social heritage organization comprised of Americans of Lebanese and Syrian decent, and funds will go to St. Jude research. Thomas, who was of Lebanese descent, inspired club members in Atlanta and throughout the U.S. to support his vision for the hospital.

“The Cedar Club of Atlanta takes great pride in our founding members who played an instrumental role in building the hospital with the leadership of Danny Thomas,” said Johary, who also serves as president of the Atlanta club. “It is only fitting that we continue our support as we celebrate and pay tribute to the legacy of Thomas.”

Over the years St. Jude has changed the way the world treats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. No family ever pays the hospital for the care their child receives and, for every child treated, thousands more have been saved worldwide through St. Jude discoveries. It is the first and only National Cancer Institute designated as a comprehensive center devoted solely to children.

Tickets and information: (404) 966-6330 or visit

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The 18th annual Pink Ribbons Fashion Show & Luncheon featuring fall/holiday designer fashions Monday at the Ritz-Carlton in Buckhead will promote breast cancer awareness and raise funds for selected local breast cancer nonprofits.

Presented by Belk and Georgia Plastic Surgery, this year’s fashionable high-energy event will feature professional models and breast cancer survivors on the catwalk parading looks by Karen Kane, Michael Kors, BCBG, French Connection, Calvin Klein, Eileen Fisher and other popular designers. Top designer Karen Kane will be in attendance. 11 Alive anchor Brenda Wood will serve as the emcee, and breast cancer survivor Kaedy Kiely, radio show morning host at 97.1 The River, is the honorary chair.

The event is led this year by chair Cassy McCaffery and co-chair Audra Dial. The host committee includes breast cancer survivors, business and community leaders and health care professionals who are involved with various aspects of breast cancer.

For 18 years Pink Ribbons has hosted the annual fundraiser to pass along direct support to local nonprofits dedicated to alleviating breast cancer’s toll — the leading cause of cancer death among women ages 40 to 55 and the second-leading cause of cancer death for women of all ages.

“Pink Ribbons is for women who are fighting breast cancer and for those who may encounter it in the future, either themselves or through loved ones,” said Dr. Sheldon M. Lincenberg, who founded the event in 1995 to promote breast cancer awareness and to raise funds for local breast cancer nonprofits. The 2012 event will be dedicated to the Georgia Breast Cancer Coalition Fund and the Breast Cancer Angel Fund of The Eric R. Beverly Family Foundation.

Tickets are only sold in advance and are not available at the door.

Tickets and information: (770) 643-1807 or visit

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Atlanta sisters Caroline Tucker and Kate Denny are co-chairing and orchestrating the EmPower Party Oct. 4 to benefit the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention (G-CAPP) at the Georgia Aquarium in downtown Atlanta.

The special aspect of the event is to recognize people who have helped empower young individuals on the path to success by addressing the critical issue of teen pregnancy.

G-CAPP founder, actress and philanthropist Jane Fonda is implementing the recognition idea for the evening with her first Big Thinker Award to philanthropist and entrepreneur Ted Turner. The two-time Academy Award-winning star has lightheartedly referred to Turner as her “favorite ex-husband” and the “impetus and inspiration for starting G-CAPP.” The presentation will recognize Turner’s global vision, activism and generosity.

Following the award presentation, Fonda and Turner will entertain with a lively on-stage conversation about their work with G-CAPP. As guests enjoy the formal dinner, they also will have a relaxing close-up look at the surrounding underwater views at the aquarium.

The EmPower host committee is chaired by nationally acclaimed artist Carolyn Carr and volunteer leader Nina Cheney, assisted by more than two dozen G-CAPP board members and patron hosts.

Tickets and information: (404) 475-6046 or visit

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JumpSTART Your Career Fall I free seminars open Oct. 3 and run through Oct. 31 at North Avenue Presbyterian Church in Midtown.

In supportive and caring atmospheres, professional mentors help women face unique challenges regarding workplace re-entry, childcare requirements, divorce, self-esteem issues and self-sufficiency to break a cycle of dependency for their families as they set an example for future generations. Now in its seventh year, the nonprofit has offered more than 40 on-ground free workshops as well as online classes and served about 800 women of all ages.

The JumpSTART yearly programs are made possible through the Atlanta-based nonprofit Alexandra Surdyk Jones Foundation, Inc. No other agency in metro Atlanta focuses exclusively on job-readiness services for women of all ages matching skills, interest and values to compatible career opportunities. At the conclusion of the workshop series, each student has completed an action plan with a future-focused goal, a list of networking contacts, an introductory speech to prepare for interviews, research on potential employers, as well as an updated, dynamic resume that has been reviewed and critiqued.

Following this Fall I session will be Fall II Nov. 14 through Dec. 12 at Oglethorpe Presbyterian Church in Brookhaven and, starting in 2013, a January winter session at the Community Assistance Center in Sandy Springs.

Information: (770) 883-6856 or visit

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The Chastain Park Conservancy will welcome the fall with its eighth annual On a Green Night fundraiser, themed “Heart & Soul,” Oct. 4 at the Chastain Park Amphitheater in Buckhead.

The seasonal fundraiser hosted by the conservancy offers a mingle-and-nibble evening featuring working artists from the Chastain Art Center showcasing their craft, dancing to the rhythm of local musicians and food and drinks from a dozen area restaurants and beverage hosts.

Helaine Sugarman is the event’s chair and Julie Richardson is the co-chair.

The casual party, silent auction and Mercedes Benz raffle financially support the conservancy; a volunteer, nonprofit founded in 2003 and dedicated to stewardship and renewal of the park’s natural and developed resources. Working in conjunction with professional architectural, landscape and urban design firms, the conservancy takes a leadership role in not only developing, but also implementing the city of Atlanta’s 20-year master plan for Chastain and providing regular maintenance and upkeep of the park.

Chastain is a historic green area, designed to be a world-class park with state-of-the-art recreational facilities. Its 1940s heyday horse park, pool, golf course, tennis center and amphitheatre have been expanded and updated to serve thousands of people every year. The newest additions to the facilities are the recreation center, added in the 1970s; the 3.4 miles of PATH Foundation walking/jogging trails, added in the 1990s; and a children’s playground, added in 2000. Combined, they bring hundreds to the 260-acre park every month.

The variety of recreational offerings and size makes Chastain one of the largest and most diverse of Atlanta’s metro area parks.

As a grassroots organization, the conservancy and its members are committed to reaching the park’s full potential as a world-class source of recreation, entertainment and pride, “to preserve that which makes the park an oasis of natural beauty, while overseeing ongoing improvements designed to enhance the Chastain Park experience for current and future generations of visitors,” according to the conservancy’s website.

Tickets and information: (404) 237-2177 or visit

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Works by Patricia Patterson, winner of the Forward Arts Foundation’s 2012 Emerging Artist Award, will be featured in the “Back to the Future” exhibit Oct. 4 through Nov. 10 at the Swan Coach House Gallery in Buckhead.

Patterson combines painting, printmaking and textiles to engage her aim of “investigating memory over time.” Her large-scale watercolor paintings draw on both family photographs and found snapshots, often intentionally blur the line between lived and observed experience. Children are juxtaposed with a space shuttle, and techniques pool and collect watercolor in places where realistic details are expected.

Born and raised in the South, Patterson recently returned home after receiving her master’s degree in painting from the San Francisco Art Institute. She has a bachelor’s degree in printmaking from Georgia State University and has shown in galleries across the U.S.

The work of the other four 2012 emerging artist finalists will also be on display: street artist Born, Jessica Blinkhorn, Margaret Fletcher and Seana Reilly.

A reception for the artists will be hosted by members of the foundation on the evening of Oct. 4. The exhibit is sponsored by the Thomas R. and Loraine P. Williams Foundation. Hostesses are: Loraine Williams, Sara Hehir, Eileen Mallard, Jan Bennett, Betty Edge, Becky Warner, Jana Simmons, Sarah English Perry and Jody Weatherly.

The gallery is located on the Atlanta History Center campus and is administered by the Forward Arts Foundation, which supports the visual arts community in Atlanta with sales from the gallery, Swan Coach House Gift Shop and Restaurant.

Information: (404) 266-2636 or visit

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The High Museum of Art in Midtown will celebrate its ongoing partnership with the Museum of Modern Art in New York with a Fast Forward Gala opening of a cooperative exhibition Oct. 5 at the High.

At the black-tie event, attendees can get an early look at the exhibit, titled “Fast Forward: Modern Moments 1913>>2013.” The affair will include cocktails, dinner, a live auction and dancing amid some of the world’s greatest works of modern art, to celebrate one of largest surveys of 20th-century art to ever be cooperatively curated and displayed in the Southeast.

Co-chairs Sandra Baldwin and Tony Conway are planning to make the gala an artistic tribute to the collaboration of the High and MoMA staffs. The exhibition will be open to the public Oct. 13 through Jan. 20.

It will present 100 works of art created during the 100-year span — exploring the development of modern and contemporary art through key years in art history during the watershed moments of the 20th century.

Founded in 1905 as the Atlanta Art Association, the nonprofit High has grown to become the leading art museum of the South. With more than 12,000 works of art in its permanent collection, the High has an extensive anthology of 19th- and 20th-century works including burgeoning collections of modern and contemporary art, photography, folk and self-taught works, African art and film.

Three new buildings have doubled the museum’s size, creating a vibrant “village for the arts” at the Woodruff Arts Center.

Tickets and information: (404) 733-4557 or visit

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Emme, the iconic American supermodel, television personality, author and global advocate for positive image, will headline this year’s two-day Shop for Success benefit event to raise funds and support for the nonprofit Dress for Success Atlanta program Oct. 5 and 6 at Atlantic Station.

The celebrity-style shopping event will kick off with a ticketed private VIP party Oct. 5 with Atlanta designers and fashion boutiques showcasing their fall/winter lines and extending exclusive deals. Guests can also stop by the Dress for Success Resale Boutique, a luxury popup shop featuring high-end fashion and accessories offering discounts up to 90 percent. The preview event will include red carpet photo opportunities, spirits from Little Black Dress Vodka and Sinless Cocktails, cuisine from premiere Atlanta chefs and musical entertainment by DJ Blak Magic plus complimentary valet parking.

A Pick-a-Purse silent auction and unique raffle will multiply the special offerings, and grand prize drawings are valued at more than $2,000.

Joining Emme as the party’s mistress of ceremony will be Fox 5 news anchor Lisa Rayam and Dress for Success Worldwide Vice President of Marketing Kelly Smith Beaty.

The Oct. 6 free and open-to-the-public shopping event, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., will have designers in person, discounts on new fall fashion must-haves and entry to the Resale Boutique for bargain finds. Atlanta-based style experts from Style for Hire, a national network of personal stylists handpicked by company co-founder Stacy London, will be available for free personalized style tips and wardrobe advice to help shoppers translate the hottest trends at great prices.

All proceeds from the two-day affair will benefit Dress for Success Atlanta, a nonprofit with a mission is to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and career development tools to help them thrive in work and in life. Founded as Working Wardrobe in 1997, it affiliated with Dress for Success Worldwide in 1999.

Tickets and information: (404) 589-1177 or visit

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Gourmet hero Alex Hitz — graduate of Le Cordon Bleu Paris, restaurateur, Broadway producer, founder of Beverly Hills Kitchen frozen meals, renowned California host, kitchen designer, TV personality and author — returns to Atlanta in October to introduce his just-released book, “My Beverly Hills Kitchen: Classic Southern Cooking with a French Twist.”

A native Atlantan who now lives in Los Angeles, Hitz began his cuisine journey in his mother Caroline Shaw’s kitchen and has parlayed it into a lifelong joyful epicurean career.

Hitz’s friends and members of the Atlanta History Center in Buckhead are helping launch his first book with two benefit-style events. His mother was a staunch patron of the center.

First is an Oct. 10 gourmet gala in the center’s Grand Overlook Ballroom combining fine dining and dancing with a menu from the pages of his book prepared by Mary Hataway and her staff from Soiree. Hataway is a longtime friend and partnered with Hitz for his first restaurant venture, Patio by the River in Vinings. As a centerpiece for the evening, Hitz will share stories and photos of his incredible journey including his ultimate kitchen layout, tools and equipment for committed bakers. Gala ticket prices include a signed copy of his book.

Honorary chair Dean DuBose Smith is hosting with co-chairs Aimee Chubb, Duvall Fuqua, Elizabeth Hale and Frances Schultz. Proceeds will support the center’s educational activities.

On Oct. 11 Hitz will present a public lecture at the center to review his new cookbook of more than 175 all-time favorite Southern dishes. He blends the home-cooking skills of his mother with lessons he learned from some of the world’s great chefs and seasons his creative classic, satisfying comfort food with a slight French accent.

Hitz’s introductory hometown visit to publicize his book will extend over the weekend for private affairs and a book signing Oct. 14 at Barnes and Noble in Buckhead.

Reservations, tickets and information: (404) 814-4102 (gala) or (404) 814-4000 (lecture) or visit

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