Fine Arts Mentors chairpersons for Scene 0607

Judy Williams, left, is chair and Sharon Davis, right, is secretary-treasurer of the nonprofit Citrus Fine Arts Inc.

Due to drastically reduced government funding for the arts nationwide, a new entity has been formed in Citrus County to perpetuate the arts.

Citrus Fine Arts Inc. was formed in 2017. They are a nonprofit, 501(c)3 organization with a passion for enriching our county through supporting local fine arts.

Three of the former board members of the disbanded Festival of the Arts Committee Inc. — Sharon Davis, secretary/treasurer; Jan Vermilya, director at large; and Cathy Short, director at large — along with Chairperson Judy Williams make up the Board of Directors of Citrus Fine Arts Inc. Their main objective is raising funds and awareness for the arts in Citrus County.

Their major fundraiser is the Soiree D’Grande. The 2019 event will be staged from 5-8 p.m. Nov. 16 at Grand Living on Norvell Bryant Highway in Hernando. There will be wine and hors d’oeuvres, entertainment, art exhibits, a “wine pull“ giveaway and tours of the Grand Living Facility.

Proceeds will support the art education scholarship fund of Citrus Fine Arts Inc. Tickets are $25. For more information, contact Sharon Davis at 408-390-9527.

CFAI has a special focus on middle school students.

“How can we support these younger students and their teachers,” asked Williams. “What is available to them in art, band, chorus and theater? Although some summer camps are available in these areas, the demand surpasses capacity each year.”

This year they initiated their first art camp for middle school students.

“It was filled just days after being announced on Facebook,” said Williams.

In the future, they will host more of these camps and hope to expand the format from just visual arts to all areas of the performing arts.

“We will encourage, seek out and promote current and new summer camps to meet the demand,” said Davis. “Our scholarship program will support tuition for children who might not be able to attend an art program for financial reasons.

“Getting involved in art programs has a positive effect on youngsters,” Davis said. “They are less likely to use drugs, achieve higher SAT scores, become class officers and win awards for writing and attendance.”

The value of arts and culture in the sectors of tourism, health and business have been calculated by the national organization, Americans for the Arts. Citrus Fine Arts Inc. recognizes that local art and culture are essential ingredients for our county’s economic growth.

CFAI is on a mission to ensure that the arts thrive in Citrus County by cultivating relationships that unite business, education and the arts. Their unique approach brings the arts to the forefront and promotes a culture of innovation and awareness to the community. They invite the community to invest in the future by supporting local band, chorus, dance, theater performances and summer art camps.

Donations are an essential component to their fundraising efforts. Any amount is appreciated. Donations can be made on the website, www.citrusfinearts.org. You can also learn more about the organization there, and click on the link to be a volunteer for this new and innovative resource.

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