Where to see a show, take a class, add to your collection, and admire masterpieces
Once a relatively sleepy suburb, Gwinnett County is now home to some of the best arts and culture venues in metro Atlanta. Gone are the days when Gwinnettians had to drive to the heart of the city to see the work of internationally renowned artists or a Broadway musical. Here are five essential stops on your Gwinnett arts tour.
Driving past the rail yards in Buford, it’s easy to miss Tannery Row Artist Colony, but those who wander into the 20-studio complex will not find themselves lost. Every day from noon to 4 p.m., visitors can stop in to see (and purchase) an array of paintings, pottery, jewelry, and sculptures. After strolling through the studios, grab a bite to eat at the attached Tannery Row Ale House.
Beyond top-notch productions of contemporary dramas and Tony Award–winning musicals (“Mary Poppins,” “Memphis,” and “In the Heights,” to name a few), the Lawrenceville Arts Center also hosts stand-up comedy, children’s shows, and cultural nights. Employing more artists than any other theater in the state, Aurora will be getting a new home following the completion of a state-of-the-art performing arts complex in downtown Lawrenceville later this year.
At the Hudgens Center for Art & Learning in Duluth, visitors can see fine art exhibitions; take a painting, sculpture, or printmaking class; and stroll through the 28,000-square-foot Weeks Sculpture Garden. Each year the Hudgens Center hosts “Stand in Ansel Adams’ Footsteps,” a juried competition put on by the Gwinnett Chapter of the Georgia Nature Photographers Association. The center also offers the prestigious Hudgens Prize, which awards one exceptional Georgia artist $50,000 and a solo exhibition every other year.
For the entire month of October, Gwinnett celebrates all things arts-related. Keep an eye out for news about special performances, discounts to arts venues, pop-up demos, buskers, and daily public art events.
R. Alexander Fine Art prides itself on exhibiting contemporary artists from Europe and the United States who are “today’s masters and tomorrow’s legends. ”Located near a buzzing intersection in Peachtree Corners, the gallery showcases a range of styles, from Spanish Baroque–inspired paintings to pop art. The art extends outdoors to a stunning garden, which features exotic plants as well as sculptures by contemporary artists Mark Yale Harris, Márton Váró, and others.
A Walk to Remember
Every year since 2008, the Suwanee Public Arts Commission puts out a call to thousands of artists across the country to create sculptures for a one-mile walking tour in and around the city’s Town Center Park. A jury votes on the best works, the top pieces are displayed for 22 months, and the city purchases the “People’s Choice” winner for its permanent collection.
This article, written Kelundra Smith, originally appeared in Volume V of Explore Gwinnett Magazine.