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Column: Consular Ball to salute Georgia’s consular corps
by Sally F. White
Northside Neighbor Columnist
April 24, 2013 04:13 PM | 6655 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sally White, Northside Neighbor Columnist
Sally White, Northside Neighbor Columnist
International businesses and local officials will host the annual International Consular Ball Saturday at the World of Coca-Cola in downtown Atlanta.

Hosted by officials of the nonprofit Georgia Council for International Visitors, the 32nd annual event, themed “Passport to the Future,” will salute the about 70 consular corps headquartered in Georgia. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed is serving as honorary chair and will be part of the program. Remarks will also be made by the dean of the consular corps, Consul General of Switzerland Claudio Leoncavallo.

The premier international event provides an opportunity for Georgia’s business and civic communities to join the council in recognizing the importance of relationships between the region and the world.

The ball brings together the business, civic, education and diplomatic communities for a dynamic black-tie evening of networking and celebration. The chair of this year’s ball is Yelena Epova, a partner at the Habif, Arogeti and Wynne accounting firm.

Proceeds from the event will go to the council’s international and education programs, with the mission to create international experiences and opportunities for the people of Georgia and emerging leaders around the world.

Founded in 1962, the council works with the U.S. Department of State to develop a broad spectrum of professional and cultural exchange programs for emerging global leaders. Nonpartisan citizen diplomacy programs provide Georgians with unique opportunities to share practices, insights and friendship with distinguished visitors to the U.S.

Tickets and information: (404) 832-5560, ext. 21 or visit

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Saturday’s 14th annual Wine and Roses black-tie gala will have an intriguing theme, “The British Invasion.” It will be staged at the Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek.

This year’s guests will celebrate the music and sounds of the 1960s with fun décor, a champagne reception, a seated dinner, great live music, entertainment, dancing and special surprises as the event raises funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s care centers, research and education programs.

Longtime foundation supporters Carolyn and Bill Connors are the 2013 gala’s honorary co-chairs. Bill Connors is president of Comcast’s central division. Linda and Larry Freeland are serving as the event co-chairs.

Cystic fibrosis is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of 30,000 children and adults in the U.S. and 70,000 worldwide. Most patients are being diagnosed by age 2. In the 1950s few lived to attend elementary school. Today, patients are living until their late 30s.

The nonprofit foundation is dedicated to attacking the disease from every angle with a focus on development of new drugs to fight it and to improve the quality of life of those with cystic fibrosis. The foundation has played an important role in research and development of the breakthrough Kalydeco drug that addresses the underlying cause of the devastating disease.

Tickets and information: (404) 325-6973 or visit

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The Winning the Battles in Your Mind Black-Tie Gala Fundraiser Saturday at the Cobb Galleria Centre near Vinings will be the first black-tie gala to launch a new online campaign to support and raise awareness about childhood cancer.

The event will include a dinner and a performance by the Atlanta Ballet. Also, Sheldon Media will stream a unique and spectacular fashion parade at 8 p.m. The catwalk presentation will star six young men and women, ages 6 to 19, who are battling cancer.

The Shiloh High School Choir of Gwinnett County and members of the Phat Comedy Kids, a group of Georgia youths, will also lend their talents for the benefit runway show. Asia, a 13-year-old singer, will also perform. It is all happening because life coach Aretha Cleveland organized “Saving the Future” as a mandate from God after losing her father, Joe Ross, to colon cancer in 2008.

The nonprofit was founded to teach others how to discover their purpose and realize their dreams. The transition to inspire others means dealing with personal tragedies while embracing personal triumphs. Cleveland teaches the principles in her inspirational seminars and is hosting the Atlanta fundraising dinner to benefit the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

She is reaching beyond Georgia by incorporating social and multimedia marketing to raise funds and awareness of the need for family support, care and research on childhood cancer. Statistics show that in the U.S. 13,000 children under age 21 are diagnosed with cancer every year.

Tickets and information: (770) 309-3655 or visit

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Two unique art-oriented organizations, the Hambidge Art and Science Center in Rabun Gap and the Goat Farm Arts Center in west Midtown are combining their efforts for a unique Art Auction + Performance Gala Saturday to benefit Hambidge residency programs.

Artwork from more than 150 established and emerging artists has been curated for the auction by Ben Goldman, director of the Kibbee Gallery and Jenny Jensen Minkewicz, independent art adviser, for the 2013 auction.

Although the annual Hambidge auction has a successful 18-year history, the performance elements added this year will give a new dimension to the arts-oriented benefit. Spotlighted in the unique performing art spaces will be musical acts, dance performances and individual performing artists.

Also, Hambidge is paying special homage to the culinary arts by recognizing Alisa Barry, author, entrepreneur and creator of Bella Cucina, and her husband, Smith Hanes, as the event’s honorary co-chairs.

Attendees will relish serious food by creative restaurants and enjoy a cash bar of specialty cocktails as they wander throughout the Goat Farm complex — a former factory and historic site — to discover imaginative art, performances, installations and experiences at every turn indoors and out.

The Goat Farm is a major visual and performing arts center housed in a 19th-century complex of industrial buildings on Foster Street. It hosts musical concerts, traditional and experimental theatrical performances, film screenings, contemporary dance performances, art exhibitions, artist residency programs and professional ballet performances.

For more than 75 years the nonprofit Hambidge Center has provided residency fellowships to distinguished artists and scientists at a 600-acre sanctuary in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Artists in residence have access to private studios as well as communal dinners to grow and enhance their artistic quests.

Tickets and information: (404) 964-4174 or visit

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Seventeen of Atlanta’s most beloved chefs are joining forces again for the annual Sunday Suppers in private homes in three upcoming Sundays: April 28 and May 5 and 19, to benefit Meals on Wheels Atlanta for seniors.

This will mark the second year for creative chefs to pair with big-hearted Atlantan residents to invite supporters for intimate Sunday evening suppers in beautiful, private homes to benefit the Meals on Wheels’ mission to support senior independence through food, shelter, education and community.

Audra Dial is the overall chair, and Cindy Fowler is serving as chair emeritus. Four-course meals will be presented in 14 homes with wine pairings selected by Michael Venezia of United Distributors and provided by Sunrise Assisted Living. Floral arrangements are by Flowering Events, Darryl Wiseman Flowers and Gregory Joseph Designs.

Tickets are $300 per person. One of the chefs involved in the event, Canoe’s Carvel Grant Gould, said, “I am honored to cook for a meaningful organization like Meals on Wheels Atlanta — the health and well-being of our city’s seniors is very important to me and the staff at Canoe.”

Chef Joe Truex of Watershed in Buckhead, added, “The Sunday Suppers are a brilliant way to shorten the waiting list of the hundreds of seniors who need a hot meal. It’s the least we can do!”

The other chefs involved are: Joe Trevino of the St. Regis, Piero Premoli of Pricci, Zahily Rueda of Dennis Dean Catering, Gary Donlick of Bistro Niko, Kevin Rathbun of Rathbun’s, Cyrille Holota of BLT Steak, Liz Cipro of A Legendary Event, Todd Annis of Bold American Events, Mitchell Anderson and Brian Kraatz of Metro Fresh, Olivier Gaupin of Loews Atlanta, Franck Steigerwald of the Ritz-Carlton in Buckhead, Gerry Klaskala of Aria, Timothy Magee of Southern Art and Richard Lee of Davio’s.

Dial and her husband, Mathew Ford, and Fowler and her husband, Bill Fowler, are also serving as the dinner hosts. Other Atlanta hosts are: Joanne and Charlie Ackerman, Elizabeth and Carl Allen, Sandra and Dan Baldwin, Eileen and Bo DuBose, Aida and Allen Flamm, Corky and Roger Gelder, Lynne and Howard Halpern, Marilyn and Dr. Howard Krone, Linda and Dennis Meir, Marsha Middleton and Edwin Archer, Jack Sawyer and Dr. Bill Torres, Cindy and Bill Voyles and Judy Zaban-Miller and Lester Miller.

This year’s event is expected to raise more than $50,000, providing more than 8,000 meals for older adults in need. One in six Georgia seniors is at risk of hunger or malnutrition.

Founded in 1965 as Senior Citizens Services, the nonprofit Meals on Wheels Atlanta envisions a world where no Atlanta-area senior is hungry, cold or forgotten. Each year volunteers deliver more than 100,000 meals, repair hundreds of homes, provide community and wellness education and spend thousands of hours helping seniors and families deal with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Reservations and information: (404) 605-8450 or visit

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Guests at Sunday’s UNICEF Experience Atlanta at Mason Murer Fine Art in Buckhead, hosted by the nonprofit United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), will have the opportunity to engage with unique interactive exhibits to experience what many vulnerable children in developing countries face every day to survive.

Supporters will be able to see and purchase actual lifesaving items delivered by UNICEF where they are needed most, including anti-malarial bed nets, a midwifery kit and emergency tents. Guests will have the chance to carry buckets of water as heavy as those carried by many children in developing countries.

Atlanta-based artist Charly Palmer will lead guests in creating original works of art that represent UNICEF’s mission to ensure the survival and development of every child. Hors d’oeuvres and beverages will be served. Parents are encouraged to bring their children to visualize the help offered in developing countries.

UNICEF national ambassador chair Vern Yip is heading the Atlanta leadership committee with Barbara Diaz, Enid Draluck, Rebecca Gupta, Jeri Moran and Sarah Walton.

UNICEF works in more than 190 countries and territories to save and improve children’s lives, providing health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition education, emergency relief and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports work through fundraising, advocacy and education in America.

Tickets and information: (404) 239-3300 or visit

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Ladies will don elegant springtime chapeaus and add pearls and gloves to join friends for the Beauty Becomes You Foundation’s annual Elegant Ladies Hat Luncheon May 2 at the Swan Coach House Restaurant in Buckhead.

A special treat will be inspiring keynote speaker Nathalie Dupree. She began her way to food fame in Atlanta and has just co-authored an inspiring “Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking” book with Cynthia Graubart.

Dupree has won the notable James Beard Foundation Award for two of her other books. Co-chaired by Rhonda Rowland and Carolyn O’Neil, the stylish affair supports the mission to preserve the dignity and self-respect of senior adults through the provision of personal aesthetic care. Alison O’Neil is the foundation’s founder.

Sandy Springs and Buckhead supporters heading the host committee are: Karen Sledge, Sharon Tatum, Barbara Bastian, Martha Fortson and Tamie Miller. An auction of beautiful donated hats and accessories along with the foundation’s symbolic pearls by Dolma Jewelry will add to the fundraising aspects.

The nonprofit foundation embraces a holistic approach to addressing low-income senior hygiene and emotional needs. Often seniors have skin, hair and nail concerns which are easily compromised. Therapeutic interventions can range from hair and skin cleansing to foot care for diabetics.

Volunteer professionals give participating seniors haircuts and styles, facials, manicures, pedicures, reflexology and makeup sessions to maintain and improve appearance while improving health and self-confidence.

This year Alison O’Neal is announcing the launch of the Senior Select Seal of Assurance, which will help make life easier as people age by identifying quality products and professionals standards.

Tickets and information: (678) 421-0500 or visit

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Music aficionados are excited about renewal of free cabaret-style performances by talented local performers who have moved on, often to non-musical careers, but enjoy sharing their music with friends and the public, at a Northside location.

Dan Britt, vocalist and former executive director of the Atlanta Lyric Theatre, has organized a series of A Great Friend Music Series on the first Thursday of each month beginning in April. The next performance is set for May 2 at a space on Commerce Drive in Buckhead.

Britt and pianist Amy Holloway started the musical ball rolling with “Simply Music and Laughs” in April and will bring in other performers in the months to come. The staging space is the former office location of the Lyric and the intimate Byers Studio Theatre.

Since the Lyric moved to the Marietta Square and now to the Cobb Civic Center, the cozy space was tempting for Britt and his talented musical buddies to rally for impromptu session.

“I have created a new company this year, A Great Friend LLC, offering personal home care services with a staff of certified nurses aides and located my offices and training center in the complex where I used to perform with the Lyric.” Britt said. “It brought back great memories and the desire to keep on singing for pleasure. When I discovered the space was empty in our office area, I recruited other performers to join me in sharing music with friends and the public. And we are sponsoring the Thursday sessions as a gift from my AGF company!”

Reservations and information: (404) 605-8448 or visit

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