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Golf Classic to support ArtVan program

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

For the seventh year in a row, Allan Vigil Ford Lincoln Mercury of Morrow, and Arts Clayton, will host a golf tournament to ensure that the wheels on the Arts Clayton ArtVan keep rolling.

The Allan Vigil Ford Lincoln Mercury Golf Classic, which supports the children's programs of Arts Clayton, will take place on Tuesday, June 29, at the Crystal Lake Golf and Country Club in Hampton. Registration and pre-tournament activities will begin at 9 a.m., and a shotgun start for the golf tournament will take place at 11 a.m.

Mike Vigil, vice president of Allan Vigil Ford Lincoln Mercury, has also served as a board member of Arts Clayton since the inception of the tournament. He said the annual golf outing serves as one of the largest revenue streams for the ArtVan, which travels the county providing art, reading, and enrichment programs for elementary schools, libraries, and recreation centers.

"I believe it [the tournament] to be very critical," Vigil said. "It helps for the maintenance and upkeep of the van, but also [pays for] the instructors, the reading teachers, and the materials they use."

Arlene Bellamy, an art teacher at Harper Elementary School, and an ArtVan instructor, said the van brings the arts to students, in several instances, where art programs have been cut. She said the funding from the golf tournament helps pay for paint, sketch pads, clay, fabric, construction paper, makers, crayons, and, of course, gas for the van.

"All the funding goes into the program, and that's how we get to stay on the street," Bellamy said. "That's what keeps us rolling. We are in, at least, 10 schools in afternoon programs, and are in, at least, two schools as artists-in-residence everyday [during the school year]. Without that funding, we can't continue to do what we are doing."

The tournament will include several raffle drawings, as well as art for sale from exhibiting artists, and a Hole-in-One Challenge, in which the first person to score a hole-in-one will win a 2011 Ford Fiesta.

As a boon to businesses, the tournament will also include "tee box domination," in which local businesses will be able to set up near certain holes on the course and interact with potential customers.

"They can provide information about their business or do giveaways," Vigil said. "It's a way to give companies the ability to better connect to the golfers. Instead of just having a sign, they can interact with the golfers and, hopefully, drum up some business."

Vigil said the tournament is expecting 20 to 25, four-person teams and is still accepting entries and tee box domination applications, and offering other sponsorship opportunities.

Bellamy said the ArtVan provides a creative outlet to students who would otherwise have none, and she hopes people will participate in the tournament.

"It [art] pushes creativity, and when you can think creatively, you can think outside of the box," Bellamy said. "It helps them [young people] use their imagination."

Crystal Lake Golf and Country Club is located at 100 Crystal Lake Blvd., in Hampton. For more information about the tournament, call Arts Clayton, at (770) 473-5831, or visit www.artsclayton.org.