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New Oconee art facilities shared by UNG, community

A student works in a studio in the School Street Studios, newly renovated facilities shared by the University of North Georgia and the Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation.

The University of North Georgia (UNG) and the Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation (OCAF) recently opened new art facilities at the Oconee Culture Arts Foundation complex, marking a continuation of the partnership between UNG and Oconee County's vibrant arts community.

Stacy Koffman, an art professor on the Oconee Campus and OCAF member, is excited about the new facilities, which were officially opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Jan. 23.

"Students on the Oconee Campus benefit from the partnership between OCAF and UNG by gaining access to state-of-the-art studio spaces and getting opportunities to work with OCAF members and the local community," Koffman said.

OCAF ribbon cutting
UNG and OCAF representatives celebrate opening of the new School Street
Studios. UNG President Bonita Jacobs, center left, and OCAF Chairman Amrey
Harden, center right, cut the ribbon at a recent ceremony.

UNG and the UNG Foundation Inc., which raises private funds to support student scholarships and university needs above and beyond state funding, contributed $50,000 to OCAF for facility renovations in support of arts education in July 2014. Due to lack of facility space on UNG's Oconee Campus, OCAF has provided classroom space for UNG students in their art education facilities for several years. 

"The support OCAF has received from UNG is remarkable," said OCAF Executive Director Cindy Farley. "Our new ADA accessible classroom, made possible through a substantial gift from UNG, offers a bright and creative learning environment. With the addition of this space, we will reach a broader student audience and enrich many lives on a much deeper level through the arts."

Currently on display in OCAF’s Main Gallery is "The Great Folk Parade: From Finster Forward." Later this month, the exhibit's curator and artist, Peter Loose, will hold a gallery talk exclusively for UNG students.

"Providing on-site opportunities for students to study this type of exhibition, interact with our artists and learn about their work is just one way OCAF can give back to UNG and the community," Farley said.

An upcoming show at the Oconee Campus Gallery, "Reciprocal: OCAF Members at UNG," will feature community artists from March 5 through April 2. The exhibit opens with a reception at 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 5. Robert Matre of Matre Gallery in Atlanta will serve as juror for the first juried art exhibit of OCAF members at UNG; more than 60 entries have been received for the exhibit.

OCAF was founded in 1994 and is a non-profit art center run entirely by volunteers. OCAF provides art exhibits, classes, festivals and performances to educate the community and increase the interest in the arts.

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