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Column: Arthritis Foundation’s Crystal Ball to honor physicians
by Sally F. White
Northside Neighbor Columnist
September 19, 2012 12:05 PM | 5427 views | 0 0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sally White, Northside Neighbor Columnist
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A magical “Moonlight over Venice” illusion for the Arthritis Foundation’s 31st annual Crystal Ball Oct. 20 at the Ritz-Carlton in Buckhead will be previewed at a patron party hosted by Suzanne Dansby Bollman at her equestrian estate Thursday.

The focus of the ball will be on juvenile arthritis and family oriented programs. The event raises funds for arthritis research and empowers support programs for both Georgia adults and children with more than 100 forms of arthritis. Since its inception, the ball has raised more than $6 million.

The honoree for this year’s benefit is Dr. Theresa Lawrence Ford, a rheumatologist who has been instrumental in the success and growth of the foundation and an active member of the foundation’s Leadership Council for more than 25 years.

Also, the inaugural Hugh C. McLeod III, M.D. Award of Excellence will be announced at the formal benefit. The late orthopedic surgeon was a steadfast civic leader who quietly supported many causes. In honor of his life and work, the award will be presented at the 2012 ball to recognize an outstanding physician in the Atlanta community who exemplifies McLeod’s legacy by demonstrating a commitment to improving lives through leadership in the medical profession.

Co-chairs Cecilia and Allen Wright are coordinating details for the ball with Tony Brewer artistically interpreting the Italian theme.

The festive September patron event will star special guests Morgan McGrory, a 12-year-old accomplished equestrian who has been affected by juvenile arthritis, and Bollman’s magnificent Olympic dressage champion horse Cooper, who has dealt with animal arthritis.

Among the cadre of Northside committee co-chairs orchestrating the ball are: Ruth and Tom Anthony and Dr. Dorothy Mitchell-Leef and Forrest Leef (patron), Faye and John Donaldson and Linda and Tom Morris (ladies and gentlemen) and Dr. Evis Babo and Kelly Harrison Teague (auction). The patron party co-chairs are Cheryl Petros Espy, Brenda Smith, Juli Owens and Lisa Fuller.

The nonprofit foundation's Southeast region’s Georgia office serves counties across the state and is actively working to reduce the unacceptable impact of arthritis on the lives of 1.6 million adults and an estimated 9,200 children in the state. It is estimated that 50 million adults and about 300,000 children nationwide (one in four Americans) have a doctor-diagnosed form of arthritis, making it the nation’s leading cause of disability.

Reservations and information: (678) 237-4468 or visit

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Georgia sportsmen are invited to the third annual Pulling for the Kids sporting clays shooting tournament Sept. 27 at the picturesque Blalock Lakes club in Newnan to benefit the Marcus Autism Center in DeKalb County.

Starting at 8:30 a.m., the clay pigeon tournament testing sharpshooters with moving targets will offer a special fall outing at the unparalleled sporting club encompassing 3,000 pristine acres of rolling, wooded land. Experienced and novice sportspersons are welcomed.

Ticket funds from the event will benefit the nonprofit center. As one of the largest facilities in the U.S. dedicated to autism and related disorders, it treats more than 5,500 children a year. The center offers families access to the latest research, comprehensive evaluations and intensive behavior treatments. With the help of research grants, community support and government funding, the staff focuses on increasing every child’s independence through early diagnosis and treatment.

Tickets and information: (404) 785-7376 or visit

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The dedicated Atlanta Corps de Ballet volunteers are “en pointe” for their annual fall fashion luncheon Monday at the Ritz-Carlton in Buckhead to benefit the Atlanta Ballet.

Neiman Marcus is the presenting fashion sponsor and will parade the latest designer looks down the runway as members and guests enjoy a sumptuous lunch, review the 2012 dance performance season and look ahead to 2013.

Northsiders Corrie Johnson and Christan Eiler Wojcik are serving as co-chairs for the 14th annual event.

Since its inception in 1998, when six ballet patrons gathered for lunch to share a common passion for dance, the tradition has grown as a fashionable social gathering to spark enthusiasm and funding for the ballet’s commitment to professional performances and community dance education programs.

The supportive Corps volunteers have helped generated funds for the Pas de Deux Society to sponsor dancer Peng-Yu Chen — now in her sixth season with the company.

The beginning performance for the ballet’s 2012-13 professional schedule is the return of the holiday classic “Nutcracker” at the Fabulous Fox Theatre Dec. 7 through 26. The schedule will continue Feb. 8 through 12 with choreographer Michael Pink’s “Dracula” at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre near Vinings.

Founded in 1929, the ballet is one of the premiere dance companies in the nation and the official state ballet of Georgia. The company’s eclectic repertoire spans ballet history, highlighted by beloved classics and inventive originals.

Beginning in 1996, the ballet expanded efforts to educate audiences on the empowering joy of dance by opening the Centre for Dance Education in Midtown, which is dedicated to nurturing young dancers while providing an outlet for adults to express their creativity.

Tickets and information: (404) 873-5811, ext. 213 or visit

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Northsiders who share time with friends and second homes in the picturesque North Carolina mountains are reaching out to craft art aficionados and inviting folks to participate in the Celebration! Art, Craft, Design festival Sept. 28 and 29 at The Bascom Arts Center in Highlands, N.C.

Visitors will discover a treasure trove of craft art during the annual weekend event. The itinerary will include a patrons-only cocktail reception, then a public celebration featuring craft exhibits and demonstrations by artists whose works include woodturning and ceramics making. A learned panel of artists and gallery owners will present “Collecting Craft: A Love Affair” and give valuable insight on acquiring craft art. Serving on the panel are: Mark Leach, executive director of the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem, N.C.; well-known Atlanta art dealer Fay Gold of Fay Gold Art Advisory in Atlanta; collector Margaret Pennington and Anne Lambert Tracht of ConsultArt Inc.

Three-dimensional art objects offered for sale will include the media of wood, ceramics, glass, sculpture, fiber, metal, furniture, baskets and more. A live auction will offer select prime works by some of America’s best-known craft artists. Karl Green, director of European and American furniture and decorative arts of Bonhams New York, will serve as guest auctioneer and direct the live auction.

Atlanta-area volunteers serving on the host committee are: Gold, Tracht, Bascom board member Marcia Weber and Celebration! consultant Barbara S. Tapp.

Funds from the festival will benefit the nonprofit Bascom. The six-building complex on a 6-acre campus atop a beautiful natural mountain plateau in Highlands offers audiences of all ages stimulating and diverse exhibitions, studio art instruction and other cultural experiences.

Tickets and information: (404) 210-4613 or (828) 526-4949 or visit

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Alliance Française ďAtlanta is celebrating its 100-year anniversary Sept. 29 at the Four Seasons in Midtown. With a “The Past is Present” theme, this year’s ball will draw guests from around the world for an exquisite French gastronomy dinner, wine and champagne to toast the ongoing international influence of the Atlanta nonprofit.

Ball chair Terri Vismale-Morris has a Northside corps helping organize the celebration: Claire and Nigel Richardson, Debby and Marc Woods and Claude Wegscheider.

The French-American cultural center serving the Atlanta community started in 1912 when a group of Francophiles created a French association to practice their French — to propagate the French language and culture. In 1963 Nora Saporta turned Alliance Française ďAtlanta into a school, and new members applied to learn French. In 2009, following the celebration of Franco-German friendship, the school moved to share the facility with the Goethe Zentrum to promote German language and culture.

Continuing to grow, Alliance Française expanded its services and opened a Roswell satellite campus in 2012 with this assignment: French is more than just a language; it also opens doors to a world of culture, experience and business. French is a world language with more than 220 million speakers worldwide.

Today the independent Alliance Française has 1,000 active members and benefits from a worldwide network of French alliances on all continents.

The mission is to encourage the study of the French language and culture, to foster intellectual and artistic exchange between the French-speaking world and local communities and to bring the world to Atlanta through French language and culture.

Tickets and information: (404) 875-1211 or visit

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This year’s 24th annual Latin Fever Ball Sept. 29 at the InterContinental Hotel in Buckhead will celebrate “40 Years of Passion and Purpose” supporting the Atlanta-based Latin American Association. Timed to coincide with Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 through Oct. 15), the black-tie affair will offer authentic cuisine, spectacular dance performances and lively rhythms from throughout Latin America.

A silent auction will raise additional funds and features an assortment of exotic travel excursions, exquisite jewelry, original art, gourmet dinners, top brand-name home appliances and tickets to cultural and sporting events.

Over the years members of the Latin Fever Guild, a group of distinguished community leaders and volunteers, have served as hosts for the association’s principal fundraising event. Ball co-chairs Lois and Rudy Beserra are supported by these committed patrons and volunteers: Michelle Alvarez, Olga L. Cadena, Del Clark, Barbarella Diaz, Enrique Dorta, Ricki Fairley, Melissa Palacios, Gigi Pedraza, Annie-York Trujillo, Teresa Torres, Myrna Clemmons and Veronica Maldonado.

Monies raised at the annual event will sustain the nonprofit association’s mission to help Latino families achieve their aspirations for academic, social and economic advancement. Participation makes a significant impact in the lives of Latinos throughout Georgia by funding programs to promote youth academic achievement, build strong communities through educational programs and serve those facing urgent needs.

Tickets and information: (404) 471-1892 or visit

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One of the most unique annual fundraising events in Atlanta, the Chelko Foundation’s Bodies as a Work of Art is scheduled for Sept. 29 at the Pilot’s Country Club at DeKalb Peachtree Airport near Chamblee.

The high-energy affair inside the airplane hangar will pair renowned body painters with live models as body canvases — incorporating theatrical makeup, various themes and props to compete for a cash prize.

Among the commissioned body-artists selected by foundation Executive Director Randi Lane and board member Ken Goldwasser to compete this year are: Dia Star, Stephanie Anderson, Rosemary Kimble and last year’s winner, Karen Portaleo. Dave FM’s Mara Davis will return as emcee for the evening competition.

Recognized artists and Atlanta personalities selected as judges are: special effects makeup artist Toby Sells, famed photographer Harriet Leibowitz, Atlanta magazine reporter Rich Eldredge, Holly Firfer of CNN, event emcee and former TV and radio personality Tom Sullivan, art consultant Jessie Singleton and Kelly Nelson , founder of art website Luminocity.

For the third year Carey Carter, co-owner of Carter Barnes Hair Artisans in Buckhead, will serve as event chair, aided by 2012 co-chair Sara Wolf Mixon.

The nonprofit foundation was created in 2005 by Atlanta artist Paul Chelko in honor of his late wife Debbie and dedicated to empowering women worldwide through art and education. He died in 2007. Proceeds will benefit both the foundation’s scholarship fund for women in the arts and Jaden’s Ladder, a nonprofit post-domestic violence program assisting survivors with life-enhancing programs fostering self-reliance.

Tickets and information: (404) 993-0306 or visit or

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