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Bowen turns 10

First decade celebrated

POSTED: September 29, 2010 4:00 a.m.
Michele Hester Dawson Community News/

Mary Bob Fox, right, a former president of the Dawson County Arts Council, greets guests of honor Rudy and Jean Bowen on Saturday night during the Bowen Center for the Arts' anniversary gala. The center, which is marking 10 years, is named for Rudy Bowen's parents.

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Dawsonville celebrated a decade of fine arts with a gala Saturday night at the Bowen Center for the Arts.


Named for local patrons of the arts and dedicated community stewards Ralph and Ludy Bowen, the center’s first exhibit opened Oct. 1, 2000.


During the gala, an exhibit showcasing the Best of the Bowen was on display to mark the center’s 10th anniversary.


“Our parents would have been very proud of this center. It’s a wonderful thing,” said Millard Bowen, who was part of the group that helped restore what is referred to as the “old rock school.”


Built in the 1930s, the 5,000-square-foot building was for many years part of the Dawson County School System.


When the school board determined the building was nearing the end of its usefulness, a group of volunteers got together to lease it.


“It’s a landmark for our generation,” Millard Bowen said.


The floor wasn’t level, the roof leaked and the doors no longer locked, but the group saw the “old rock school” as an opportunity for downtown Dawsonville.


“We wanted to create Dawsonville as a destination,” said John Jordan, a former president of the Dawson County Arts Council.


With support from local banks, volunteers and civic groups like Rotary and the Dawson County Woman’s clubs, the renovation was complete and the center dedicated Sept. 7, 2000.


What followed marked the beginning of events designed to enrich the cultural and artistic spirit of the county.


The center’s next exhibit, “Drawing with Light,” a juried photography show, opens Oct. 8.


An artist reception will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Oct. 9.


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