Union County

Union County artists serve up music, arts and more at fundraising breakfast

David L. Cook is Artists Music Guild CEO and executive director.
David L. Cook is Artists Music Guild CEO and executive director. KIM BECKNELL WILLIAMS

The arts are alive and thriving in Union County.

That was evident at the Artists Music Guild’s Fundraising and Community Awareness Breakfast on Aug. 5 at Monroe Mall.

Community leaders and arts advocates gathered to hear testimonials supporting the arts and artists in the county.

Legendary musician and singer Chubby Checker was one of the speakers. Known for his recording of “The Twist” and many other songs, Checker is a longtime friend of David L. Cook, CEO and executive director of AMG. According to Cook, the two of them were once on the TV game show “Hollywood Squares” many years ago.

“Let the guild be a part of your life. It’s right here in your town,” Checker said. “What a great gem right here in Union County.”

Aside from his work with the guild, Cook has many other accolades. A seven-time Emmy Award winner, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and was nominated for a Dove Award.

At the breakfast, he thanked the crowd of supporters, speakers and performers.

In addition to the meal and speakers, there was plenty of entertainment, including a dance performance by the Union County Youth Ballet and a song and piano musical performance by Dee Dee Sharp, a well-known vocalist and musician.

Monroe artist Stefan Duncan created an entire painting of a tree during the two-hour buffet breakfast.

After suffering from a head injury 17 years ago and recovering, Duncan took up painting. “I made a deal with the divine that I would create paintings to glorify his presence in nature,” Duncan said.

Glass vases filled with rolled-up sheet music and red flowers served as table centerpieces at the breakfast, and everywhere you looked was a touch of some type of art: music, dance and paintings.

A gallery of art currently is displayed at the mall, including numerous paintings. Some of Duncan’s work is in the exhibit, as well as that of Al Howard.

Howard, a Union County artist, submitted paintings of Bob Marley, Willie Nelson and African tribal pieces.

“I’m excited to do something local,” Howard said.

The exhibit also includes gowns worn by country music stars, including Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette and Reba McIntyre.

Monroe Mayor Bobby Kilgore attended the breakfast. “The arts are really growing in Monroe and Union County,” Kilgore said, “which is a really good thing.”

AMG is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year.

Learn more at www.artistsmusicguild.com.

Kim Becknell Williams is a freelance writer: kimbecknellwilliams@gmail.com.