lagrangenews.com

‘For the Love of the Arts’ returns for third year

Steena Hymes shymes@civitasmedia.com

February 11, 2014

The third annual “For Love of the Arts” runs Feb. 13-23 and offers an array of cultural and artistic events for locals and tourists. This celebration will feature the regions best music, visual and cultural arts.


Started in 2012 by the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce, the vision behind “For the Love of the Arts” was to create a tourism product condensed into 10 days of winter cultural art events going on around town, tourism director, Laura Jennings said.


The events not only draw out locals but also bring tourists to LaGrange and contributes to the economic gain during winter months. The festival was specifically planned around Valentines Day for a period when not a lot of activities are occurring because of weather. Jennings said, known for outdoor activities, the chamber hopes to offer indoor events for the community.


“We’d like for it to be a countywide celebration,” Jennings said.


“For Love of the Arts” is part of the chamber’s effort to increase tourism. According to Jennings, Tourism alone, employs 1,150 people in Troup County. Per day, tourists spend just shy $404,000 within the county, bringing in $147 million per year.


The economic report for how much this festival has brought in past years is not available, but Jennings estimates that “For of the Arts” brings in 30 percent of out-of-town visitors. Jennings said this is an opportunity for locals to entertain visitors to LaGrange and the county.


Hotels do offer special rates for those coming specifically for this 10-day celebration. Hampton Inn, Best Western Lafayette Garden Inn, Country Inn & Suites and Wingate by Wyndham all have special rates.


“Its been such a great collaborative between all of us,” Jennings said. “It’s been good for all of the art organizations to pull together.”


The state of Georgia’s tourism division provided seed money for the first two years; $4,500 the first year and $15,000 the second year. This year, however all funding is the responsibility of each art organization participating in this years festivities.


Jennings said each year the festival has grown more popular and by now it is a recognizable celebration among the town.


Art organizations from all over town have planned events. The LSPA debuted their play ‘The Foreigner’’ last week and New Horizon Community Theater will feature its performance of “A Little Princess.” The LaGrange mall began its International Children’s Art Exhibit Feb.6 which will be on display until Feb. 16.


Events also include the almost already sold out “An Evening with Joe Gransden” sponsored by the LaGrange Symphony Guild and “Cooking Healthy: For the Love of Your Life,” a cooking class for couples hosted by Hills & Dales Estate on Valentines Day.


Legacy Museum is contributing its exhibit “All the in Between, My Story of Agnes”until March 15 and LaGrange Art Museum is hosting “A Night with the Nation’s Newest and Best Artists” which features the best artists from all over the nation.


A full listing of events and details can be found at forloveoftheartslagrange.com.


“These things are almost always available locally anyway,” Jennings said. “What we want is other people to see how amazing our cultural arts are in Troup County. People cannot believe towns this size can produce this kind of quality and it’s our heritage.”