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Clayton County arts program wins national recognition

The Clayton County Board of Commissioners poses with Arts Clayton Executive Director Linda Summerlin after presenting the 2014 Public Leadership in the Arts Award for County Leadership award. (Staff Photo: Curt Yeomans)

The Clayton County Board of Commissioners poses with Arts Clayton Executive Director Linda Summerlin after presenting the 2014 Public Leadership in the Arts Award for County Leadership award. (Staff Photo: Curt Yeomans)

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Arts Clayton Executive Director Linda Summerlin thanks the Clayton County Board of Commissioners for their role in winning the prestigious 2014 Public Leadership in the Arts Award for County Leadership award for the county. (Staff Photo: Curt Yeomans)

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Clayton County commissioners will display this hand-crafted Nourot glass sculpture formed at the bench using old world techniques in the lobby of the administration building. (Special Photo)

JONESBORO — Americans for the Arts and the National Association for the Counties honored Clayton County’s ART WORKS program last month.

The national associations gave Clayton County the 2014 Public Leadership in the Arts Award for County Leadership award for its arts program that unites Arts Clayton with local colleges and Clayton County public schools. The non-profit community arts program reaches 18,840 students annually.

Arts Clayton and county commissioners presented the award to the county at last week’s Clayton County Board of Commission meeting.

“The public-private partnership trains a modern workforce for the creative jobs of the future,” said county clerk Shelby Haywood as she introduced the award. “Additionally, as part of Georgia’s Camera Ready Communities program, Clayton County was one of the first certified film offices in the state, attracting over 30 television and film projects from 2010 to 2013.”

Arts Clayton’s Executive Director Linda Summerlin thanked the commissioners for their part in winning the award.

“The NACO award in partnership with Americans for the Arts is a great example of the impact of our Clayton County commissioners investing in the vision that students today are the county’s workforce tomorrow,” she said.

Chairman Jeff Turner and commissioners Gail Hambrick and Sonna Singleton Gregory accepted the award in New Orleans in early July. Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts, also praised Clayton County’s leadership for their part in promoting the arts when he helped present the award, according to a press release.

“NACO joins with us in honoring Clayton’s County commissioners for understanding the significant impact that partnering with education can have on students, contributing to their success not only in school, but also later in life as workers and volunteers,” he said.

Gregory expressed her pride in the county’s art program when she accepted the award, according to a press release.

“On behalf of the Clayton County Board of Commissioners and the residents of Clayton County, we are honored to be the recipients of the County Arts Leadership Award,” she said. “We are extremely proud of our ART WORKS program, as it is a wonderful example of how effective and productive public-private partnerships can be when all entities involved are working toward the same goal.”

The award was handcrafted by Nourot Glass Studio, one of the early leaders in modern American Glass Arts that creates each piece using “old world techniques,” according to a press release. The sculpture will be showcased in the lobby of the Clayton County Administration building on Smith Street in Jonesboro.