Duval council hosting signature benefit

Published: Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 9:08 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 9:08 p.m.

The community is invited to "CELEBRATE THE ARTS!" with the Duval (Elementary) Community Arts Council to raise funds for instruments and a new sound system at the school.



What: CELEBRATE THE ARTS!, the signature fundraiser of the Duval (Elementary) Arts Community Council.
When: 6 p.m. Friday.
Where: John Dukes Multipurpose Center, Duval Elementary Fine Arts Academy, 2106 NE 8th Ave.
Tickets: $20 at the door.
Information: Call 352-955-6703.

The event will take place at 6 p.m. Friday at the John Dukes Multipurpose Center at Duval Fine Arts Academy, 2106 NE 8th Ave. Tickets will be $20 at the door.

"This year, we are trying to raise $5,000 to help implement our new elementary school orchestra and purchase a new sound system for the cafeteria," said Angie Terrell, founder and school liaison of the Duval Community Arts Council. "If all goes well, we will be the only elementary school orchestra in the district."

Alfred Peoples, president of the arts council, said the proceeds also will go to improve the facilities for the promotion of the fine arts at Duval Fine Arts Elementary.

"It's a worthwhile event that supports the fine arts at Duval and displays the talents of the young people that are involved in the program," he said.

Donna Jones, principal at Duval, encourages everyone in the community to support the Duval council. "It's an opportunity to show their support for the fine arts programs in schools," Jones said.

The student-driven celebration will start with a reception and a visual arts exhibit, followed by speakers and performances by current and past Duval students.

The keynote speaker will be Nona Jones, community relations director at Gainesville Regional Utilities and chairwoman of the Education Foundation of Alachua County, who will talk about the importance of arts education as a basic part of learning for all students.

Hosting the celebration will be past Duval students, including Jumahn Merricks, a seventh-grader at Lincoln Middle School, and Niyin Smith, an eighth-grader at P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School.

The entertainment will feature students in Duval's arts programs, such as the dance ensemble, percussion ensemble, color guard, choir, violinists and pianists, as well as local artists and past Duval students, including dancer Kevin Anderson and Isaiah Blount, who will perform a drama presentation.

Other past students performing will be Jasmine Fleming, a sixth-grader at Howard Bishop Middle School; C'Javia Jones, a seventh-grader at P.K. Yonge; Brandon Hall, a ninth-grader at Professional Academies @ Loften High School; Caleb Woods, a sixth-grader at Mebane Middle School in Alachua, and violinists Bianka Sanders, a student at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, and Janiya Garrison, a sixth-grader at Howard Bishop.

Terrell said the celebration also will serve to raise awareness that arts education is basic and essential.

"Our students are gifted and talented and the only shortcoming is a lack of resources," Terrell said. "Most of our students have risen from difficult circumstances to showcase their talents and gifts."

"These kids are so good, they should be in a Broadway show," Terrell continued. "Yet, they've not had the privilege of private lessons."

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