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CREATE benefit raises money for art education

Feb. 23 Russellville High School Auditorium will transform as the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce partners with the University of North Alabama School of the Arts for the CREATE Scholarship Benefit.

CREATE stands for Community Reaching Every Artist Through Education, which is exactly the goal of the CREATE scholarship.

The scholarship allows students in Franklin County to submit proposals to subsidize items such as books, room and board and general items. This will help ease the financial burden on students pursuing higher education at UNA or Northwest-Shoals Community College.

The benefit concert Feb. 23 will begin at 2 p.m. It is free and open to the public, and donations will be accepted to benefit the CREATE fund.

The concert will consist of a solo voice and piano recital featuring Terrance Brown, executive director of UNA School of the Arts, and pianist Karen Cantrell. The recital will consist of American songs and spirituals.

“The recital is a component of a long-term initiative to provide funding for students from Franklin County and Russellville City Schools who participate in the arts at the University of North Alabama,” Brown said.

The CREATE fund launched in July 2019.

The concert is part of a series of fundraising events to provide sustainability for this fund, Brown explained. The first was the kick-off event, and the most recent was a production of “It’s a wonderful life,” directed by Franklin County native Charlton James.

Brown said his biggest goal is to be able to engage the community in providing long-standing financial support for this fund.

Franklin County Chamber of Commerce Director Cassie Medley said she is looking forward to every performance in the recital.

“Being involved in music since elementary school, I appreciate the love, passion and talent of local students being showcased,” Medley said. “This event will encourage younger students to continue their education after high school and to keep dreaming.”