“The First Lady and I are longtime supporters of the arts, humanities and expressions of creativity,” said Deal. “These awards recognize outstanding individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to Georgia’s economic, civic and cultural vitality. Our state’s creative industries provide some 200,000 jobs for Georgians and generate $62.5 billion in economic impact. I congratulate the individuals and institutions being honored today and am grateful for their contributions to communities throughout Georgia.”
The Gilmer Arts and Heritage Association has made an impact on the arts in Gilmer County for almost 40 years, with a mission of promoting passionate interest and active participation in the arts sector. Gilmer Arts provides more than 300 classes for adults and children in art, music, and dance, and brings cultural events to the people of Gilmer County and north Georgia in the visual, literary, and performing arts. To achieve its goals, Gilmer Arts partners with the Gilmer Chamber as well as the local school system and library to encourage art education and involvement. Annually, its George Link Jr. Scholarship program awards scholarships to outstanding high school seniors in Gilmer County to pursue careers in the visual, literary, and performing arts. For many years, Gilmer Arts has exhibited strong executive and volunteer leadership, a solid track record of sustainable operations, a broad base of financial support, and proven program effectiveness. The organization has more than 350 members, including individual, family and business memberships. It is largely a volunteer-run operation with more than 75 active volunteers logging more than 16,000 volunteer hours in the last fiscal year. Gilmer Arts supports such events as Plein Air, Art in the Mountains, and the B.E.S.T. (Bring Ellijay Sensational Talent) performing art series, which includes four to five high-caliber performances each year. Gilmer Arts will continue to support the community with the opening of the George Link Jr. Playhouse located in Downtown Ellijay.
The 2017 Governor’s Awards for the Arts and Humanities were handcrafted by 12 Georgia potters and acquired through Perspectives: Georgia Pottery Invitational at the Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation. The Georgia Pottery Invitational is the longest running all-pottery event in the state. Each year the award-winning event showcases the works of 50 respected Georgia potters and is the largest show of its kind in the south, featuring approximately 7,500 pieces of contemporary, functional and decorative pottery for sale. Local potter, Sheryl Holstein was one of the 12 state potters whose work was chosen to be given as an award to the recipients.