Local News

March 27, 2014

Murray Arts Council to begin artists showcase

CHATSWORTH — Maison McGill says she has always had a passion for singing.

The 12-year-old student at Chatsworth Elementary School said she started singing early in life and wants to continue to improve her voice and technique.

So she turned to Bruce West, one of the music teachers at the Murray Arts Council on Market Street in Chatsworth. The council is a nonprofit dedicated to promoting and supporting the arts in the county. It offers music lessons in a variety of disciplines for all ages.

“His style makes you feel very confident,” Maison said of West, who teaches voice and guitar. “He helps you get your voice under control and helps you with power.”

Maison began voice lessons with West in September, and her mom, Denise McGill, says there has been a noticeable improvement.

“She gets a lot out of her lessons,” McGill said. “Her control and her vocal technique have improved.”

McGill is impressed with the council’s classes, and says both teachers — West and Jennifer Jones — treat their students like family.

That’s because West and Jones strive to enhance the lives of people in the community through art, they say.

“Arts are so important all around — so kids will be well-rounded,” said Jones, who teaches piano, woodwind and voice lessons. “Art is so important to our community.”

Music classes are not limited to children. They are open to adults as well. In addition to private lessons, Jones, who has a degree in music education, says she can offer group preschool music classes if there are enough people interested.

Jones said she wants people to be able to sing, whether it’s a parent singing their child to sleep or someone wanting to participate in their church’s choir.

But the council provides more than music classes.

Council members have begun to plan more activities and classes for the community, including art shows, gallery displays, yoga classes, song writing workshops and theatrical workshops. The council also offers space for visual artists to rent who want to teach classes.

The council formed in June of last year, but only acquired a building in February. It is run by a 10-member board of directors, who are art-minded and have an interest in increasing the presence of arts in the community, said Dave Robinson, board president.

“It’s essential to us economically to have arts in the community if we want to thrive and grow,” Robinson said. “When you have a depressed economy, art takes a back seat.”

Sole Commissioner Brittany Pittman said the council fills an area that has been lacking in the community and brings “cultural flavor” and “diversity to our community.” She has helped the council apply for and receive grants and helped arrange for volunteers to help repaint and replace the carpet in part of the building.

“This program gives children and adults alike an opportunity to learn by way of participating in classes or to enhance their experience in local productions and events,” Pittman said. “We hope to grow and expand these activities in our community going forward.”

Robinson said expanding activities takes money. As a newly formed nonprofit, the council is beginning to really focus on how to raise funds. Since the council did not at first have a building, Robinson said members were not focused on a campaign drive, but will probably turn their attention there in the near future.

Robinson said he hopes the council will eventually be able to provide financial backing for arts in the county. For example, if a group wanted to do a drama production, the council would provide funds needed to make the production happen.

“That’s why we’re so desperately needing support,” he said. “We need corporate sponsors.”

Currently Shaw, Petty Farms and Peach Realty contribute to the council.

The council is open for anyone to join. There are different levels of membership ranging from $10 for a student to $500 for individuals and from $250 to $5,000 for businesses. More information is on the council’s website, murray-arts.com.

Text Only
Local News
  • United Way shaw kickoff 3 mlh.jpg Tricycle truckin'

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tricycle truckin'

    August 1, 2014

  • Calhoun men charged with sexual battery to be re-indicted

    Three recent Calhoun High School graduates charged in the sexual assault of a classmate will be re-indicted by a grand jury on Monday, Gilmer County District Attorney Alison Sosebee said.

    August 1, 2014

  • Four arrested on drug charges

    A traffic stop of a suspicious vehicle led to the arrest of four people on drug charges and the seizure of more than four pounds of meth and several firearms on Wednesday, officials said.

    August 1, 2014

  • Daltonian on GMA.jpg Good morning, Debbie

    “Lightning doesn’t usually strike twice,” says Dalton’s Debbie Callahan.
    So when it did, “I was shocked (no pun intended).”
    Early Monday morning, Callahan, a 22-year breast cancer survivor, crowded among numerous screaming fans in front of ABC’s Times Square studios in New York City. Fans cheered as the City That Never Sleeps woke up to a live taping of ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Council to ask voters for development districts

    Three years ago, voters in Whitfield County and Dalton rejected a request by local officials to give them new economic development powers. In November, voters will have another chance to approve those powers.

    August 1, 2014

  • Four arrested on drug charges

    A traffic stop of a suspicious vehicle led to the arrest of four people on drug charges and the seizure of more than four pounds of meth and several firearms on Wednesday, officials said.

    August 1, 2014

  • Dalton State turtle 4.jpg In the mood for love: Encouraging breeding, saving species

    For one Dalton State College couple, a cool misty shower is more effective than Barry White and candles at turning thoughts to love. And keeping this couple feeling amorous could mean survival of the species.

    August 1, 2014 4 Photos

  • Beaulieu expects 2,000 employees to be affected by week-long shutdown

    About 2,000 employees of Beaulieu of America in Georgia and Alabama will be affected by the company’s plans to conduct an inventory of its buildings and facilities next week.

    August 1, 2014

  • Moral monday 3 mlh.jpg Four ‘jailed for justice’ tell their stories

    Arturo Martinez was just 8 when his family came to the United States from Mexico, and though he is one of more than 500,000 young undocumented immigrants granted deferred removal by President Barack Obama, Martinez said his dream of pursuing higher education is out of reach because of Georgia policies.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo