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Arts council asks county to renew lease
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Liberty County commissioners thank First Presbyterian Christian Academy students for delivering an invocation and leading the pledge of allegiance at the start of Tuesdays regular commission meeting. - photo by Photo by Denise Etheridge

The Hinesville Area Arts Council asked the Liberty County Commission Tuesday to renew the organization’s lease on its 640-square-foot space on Commerce Street in Hinesville.
Commissioners did not vote on the three-year lease, which expires June 30, but promised to have a lease extension drafted.
Council Chairwoman Leah Poole updated commissioners on HAAC’s progress, its growth in membership and activities since building renovations were completed in 2011.
Poole said the council has renovated the building at an estimated cost of $65,000. The space once housed the Liberty County Board of Elections office. The HAAC gallery is open to the public from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday through Friday.
HAAC was founded in 1988 and is funded by grants and the Margaret Martin Foundation, the chairwoman said.
Public interest in the arts has blossomed over the past three years, Poole said. About 5,000 residents have attended council events, 960 students have taken art and music classes through the council and 2,500 patrons have attended co-op artist receptions, according to Poole.
She told county leaders the council, in partnership with Target, the Georgia Theatre Company and the YMCA, has sponsored family movie nights. Poole said its costs an average of $600 to show a movie due to such expenses as paying for film rights, space and snacks.
The arts council offers various classes for adults and children, the council chairwoman said. These include Bob Ross oil painting, make-up classes, guitar lessons, figure drawing, calligraphy, comic drawing and yoga, she said. The council also hopes to offer French cooking classes in late summer or early fall, Poole said.
The arts council promotes its co-op artists by hosting artist receptions and exhibits at the Commerce Street building, Poole continued. Artist Charles Nelson showed his artwork in February, and the Hinesville Quilters Guild exhibited last month, she said. Artist Ashley Kukula Cuevas will display her work this month. A reception for Cuevas’ exhibit, “Taking Notice” will be held from 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday, April 10, according to the council’s website at
The council sponsors other events, such as the Cupcake War twice a year and the annual Blues & BBQ, set for Sept. 20, Poole said.
HAAC sponsored Liberty County’s first piece of public art, which hangs on the old Manna House building, and is planning a second patriotic-themed mural to hang on the Stafford law office building, according to Poole.
She added that the council hopes to form a public-art plan in the future. Public art would make Liberty County a more attractive place to live and would draw prospective businesses and residents to the area, Poole reasoned.
HAAC also endorses the dramatic arts, the chairwoman said.
Poole asked commissioners if they or anyone they knew would be willing to direct plays for the council’s Liberty Theatre Company. Liberty County Commission Chairman Donald Lovette writes and directs plays for Love-it-Productions, a theater company he formed several years ago.
“We have plenty of actors,” Poole said.
In other county business:
• The commission approved a $4,663.93 change-work order for the courthouse-annex parking-lot project. County engineer Trent Long explained the extra amount was needed due to unforeseen problems encountered on the construction site, such as having to avoid utilities and adjust for grades.
• Engineer Steve Hart presented a floor plan for a proposed new detectives’ office. The 5,700-square-foot building will have a metal roof and brick exterior to match that of the county jail, Hart said. The $750,000 project is funded by SPLOST money allocated for jail expansion, which included providing detectives more office and interview space, confirmed Liberty County Administrator Joey Brown.
• The commission approved a special exception to a home-occupation request. The exception allows longtime Liberty County resident Sylvester Martin to run a small engine-repair business on his rural property off Reuben Wells Road. The property is zoned agricultural. Martin told commissioners none of his neighbors voiced any complaints about his business. The Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission recommended approving the special exception last month with the condition that it would apply only to Martin, and not to homeowners that might live in his home after him.
• Commissioners proclaimed April National County Government Month. Lovette said the county would hold open houses each Wednesday at several county facilities throughout April. The county also will participate in the Earth Day celebration April 22 and Public Safety Day on April 23, the chairman said. For more information, go to

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