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Dancing with the arts
Art on the River to feature artists' creations, music

As a longstanding member of the Southern Heartland Arts Guild, Covington resident Susan Adams knows well of the visual arts talent residing and working in Newton and Rockdale counties.

With a gallery on the downtown Square in Covington that's literally bursting with an array of artistic pieces, Adams is delighted when Guild members are able to show off their work.

About 20 of the 150 artists aligned with the Guild will have an excellent opportunity to display their creations at the second annual "Art on the River" and dance at 7 p.m. on May 9 at the Porterdale Mill Lofts. The event is co-hosted by the Guild and the Arts Association in Newton County and will also feature the music of the Atlanta-based Uptown Entertainment Band.

"Last year's event was just a fabulous night," said Adams, a Guild member for 15 years who serves as board chairwoman for Southern Heartland Arts Inc. "It was so well attended and we'd decided before the night was over that we would definitely try this type of event again.

"It's a great event - the band was great, the art was outstanding and everybody had a good time. We have so many outstanding and talented artists in this area that people are amazed whenever they come to the gallery. Unfortunately, we can't take everything at the gallery and put it into this show because the work of some of our artists, like the wood turners and the potters, isn't easily transported."

The Southern Heartland Arts Guild was formed some 20 years ago when members of the Covington-Oxford Art Guild joined forces with the Rockdale Arts Alliance to become Art Guild East Inc., which hosted the "Off the Square Art Show," which became so popular it led to the formation of the Southern Heartland Arts Festival, which was held at Salem Campground.

Adams said the Guild has about 185 members, including individuals and organizations that are supportive of the local arts scene. Besides its output of art and its inviting nature, one of the Guild's most important community contributions is the art classes it offers at the gallery, which is located in the old Cohen's building in downtown Covington.

"We're growing members every day," said Adams.

A native of South Georgia, Adams said she's been painting for "as long as I can remember," although she has no formal art training.

"I'm mostly self-taught, although I have studied with some very fine artists at workshops and classes through the years," said Adams, who has also taught some classes at the Guild gallery.

Adams, who said she came to Newton County to attend Oxford College "and never left," prefers to work in oils, although she also enjoys painting in water colors and acrylics, and her favored subjects are landscapes and still lifes.

"But no portraits!" she laughed. "We've got some very, very fine portrait artists in the Guild - but I'm not one of them."

Many of the works presented at the "Art on the River" event are for sale, and Adams added she was fortunate to sell two of the four pieces she had in last year's show, which was also held at the 300,000-square-foot Porterdale Mill Lofts on the banks of the Yellow River.

And as was the case a year ago, Adams said she has no idea which piece of her work she'll include in the exhibit.

"I'll have a piece but I haven't decided what," she said. "I know it will be something I've already done because I don't have enough time to start anything now."

The Southern Heartland Art Guild will once again offer summer art camps in June and July, and more information about the camps can be obtained by calling 770-788-8799 or by visiting www.southernheartlandart.com.

Chris Starrs is a freelance writer in Athens. If you have a feature story idea, e-mail karen.rohr@rockdalecitizen.com

SideBar: If you go

· What: "Art on the River" and dance presented by the Arts Association in Newton County, along with the Southern Heartland Art Guild and sponsors McIntosh Commercial Bank, Porterdale Mill Lofts, Capes Properties, Edward D. Jones - Stuart Hamilton and the Newton Citizen

· When: 7 to 10 p.m. on May 9

· Where: Porterdale Mill Lofts on Ga. Highway 81 in Newton County

· Cost: Tickets are $25 and can be obtained by calling 770-786-8188 or by visiting www.newtoncountyarts.org.