With Arts & Entertainment Editor Kathy L. Collins

On Monday, May 1, members of the East Hillsborough Art Guild (EHAG) gathered for their Annual End of the Year Banquet. The celebration was held at the Plant City Woman’s Club located at 1110 N. Wheeler St. in historic downtown Plant City.

At the annual affair, members of EHAG celebrate the successes of the year, install new board members and award scholarships. The banquet is also an opportunity to recognize the hardworking members of the club who make everything possible.

This year’s banquet was especially celebratory as EHAG is celebrating its 25th year of promoting and advocating the arts in Plant City. Two special people were recognized at the banquet. Eleanore McDade founded EHAG back in 1992 and has worked tirelessly ever since to ensure the success of the organization. Karen Crumley took on the difficult role of chairing the Annual Fine Arts Show at the Florida Strawberry Festival. Past president and EHAG Art Guild Grant Chairman, PaulaAndra Aigner said, “We would not have a guild without these two ladies.”

Meletha Everett installed the new officers for the 2017-2018 board. Installed as president for the upcoming year is Loretta Burns. Tina Wooster was installed as vice president. Treasurer will be Colleen Justin. Pam West will serve as secretary.

This year, EHAG was able to award four scholarships to three deserving emerging artists and to an organization that supports the arts. The first scholarship was awarded to Brianne Elliot, a student at Full Sail University. Elliot will use the $300 scholarship to continue her education in pursuit of a degree in computer graphics and traditional studio art.
Rylee Marchese is a high school student who will use her $300 scholarship to attend a summer art camp. In awarding the scholarship, Aigner said, “Rhylee has an art teacher at school who is willing to change her class schedule to make sure that Rhylee is in her classes. I agree with her on that. Rhylee wants to work more on her art to improve it and to show it.”

Camila Nima-Gonzalez is a middle school student who was awarded a gift card for supplies and five free art classes with Betty Fairbanks, a long-time member of EHAG member. Aigner said, “Camila wants to further her art career and sell some of her work at our Christmas Show.”

The last scholarship of $300 was awarded to the MacDonald Training Center. The mission of the MacDonald Training Center is to empower people with disabilities to lead the lives they choose. One of the ways they do this is through their Fine Arts Studio located in Plant City. Rita Hattab, Director of Development thanked EHAG for their support and said, “Everyone knows the power of art.” Also in attendance with Hattab was Kaila Hansley and her parents, Earnest and Nila. Earnest said, “MacDonald Training Center is a very beneficial place for adults with disabilities. It helps them to be a part of the community.”

EHAG’s mission is to enrich the human spirit and lives of others through the promotion, development and enjoyment of visual arts. EHAG achieves this goal through several means. They host their Art Around Town which is a collection of exhibits throughout Plant City. The prominent exhibit is at the Classroom Gallery located in the 1914 Plant City High School Community Center located at 605 N. Collins St. in downtown Plant City. The Classroom Gallery is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m. The exhibit rotates every 60 to 90 days.

EHAG meets on the last Monday in August, the first Monday in October, November, January, February, April and May from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Woman’s Club of Plant City. For more information and to become a member, please visit www.ehagfinearts.com.

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