By Kathy Collins

Earlier this month, the East Hillsborough Art Guild (EHAG) gathered for its Annual End of the Year “Garden Art” Banquet held at the Plant City Woman’s Club in historic downtown Plant City. At the annual affair, the members of the EHAG board were installed, and a Fine Art Scholarship was presented. This is the time that the arts organization thanks the hardworking members of the guild and recognizes those who will serve the organization in the upcoming year.

Installed as president is Paula Andra Aigner, as vice president is Loretta Burns, as recording secretary is Pam West, as corresponding secretary is Colleen Justin, as treasurer is Christine Wynne. The remaining board members are Joyce Boner, Rebecca Keller, Gay Nell Lewis and Eleanore McDade.

Members of EHAG run the Fine Arts Show at the Florida Strawberry Festival each year. The proceeds from the fine arts show and other events fund scholarships for emerging artists and organizations. Deborah Lulei is Scholarship Chair. Lulei said, “The scholarships have been a tremendous success. We recently decided to offer a scholarship two times a year.”

The first scholarship awarded this year was given to Jessica Bradley, a 19-year-old comic artist. Bradley explained that she used the scholarship money to pay for a booth at MegaCon, the second largest convention in the U.S. that caters to comic and animation artists.

“To be able to exhibit there and get your work seen by thousands of people is an amazing opportunity,” Bradley said.

Lulei said, ”Bradley was only 17 when we met. She was so driven and dedicated to her artwork. This is the kind of person to whom we should be giving scholarships.”

At the banquet, the second scholarship was presented to the MacDonald Training Center. Lulei said, “This organization reaches so many people and enriches their lives through art.”

Rita Hattab, director of development, said, “Our organization has been in existence for 50 years, and the studio for 10 years.”

Hattab brought two students to be recognized. John Quinones has been an artist since the studio opened, and Douglas Spiers is a new artist. Hattab expressed her appreciation for the continued support from EHAG. For more information, visit

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