Soul Asylum

Soul Asylum to rock wing fest

The wings aren't the only things that will be flavorful at Suwanee's August Concert & Wing Festival at Town Center Park on August 8. Soul Asylum will serve up a tangy musical performance, especially if you came of age during the late '80s/early '90s alternative rock/grunge era.

Mid-1980s audiences were struck, according to Soul Asylum's Wikipedia article, by "the band's onstage swagger, scruffy Midwestern appearance, and extremely loud, frenetic sound – mixing tuneful but unrestrained punk, hardcore 1970s rock, country, and self-effacing kitsch." The article goes on to quote an early reviewer's description of the band's sound as "some unholy mix of Kiss and Hank Williams thrown under the wheels of a runaway train."

Appropriately, "Runaway Train," from Soul Asylum's sixth album, Grave Dancers Union, released in 1992, became the band's biggest hit, peaking at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100. Other hits include "Somebody to Shove," "Black Gold," and "Misery."

The 101 will kick off musical performances at 5 p.m., followed by Brent Daniel and The Athens Band; Soul Asylum will take the stage about 8:30 p.m. A wing-eating contest will take place about 7:45. Free off-site parking and a shuttle service will be provided beginning at 5 p.m. from Shawnee North Business Park, 305 Shawnee North Drive.

Food trucks return August 7

TGIFTF! Fridays are always good, but there's something extra special about Food Truck Fridays in Suwanee. Food trucks will roll back into Town Center Park Friday, August 7.

Dinner will be served from 5:30-9:30 p.m. Anticipated vendors include Blaxican, Bollywood Zing, Five Finger Philly, Freckled and Blue, Hail Caesar, King of Pops, Mac the Cheese, Rey's Cuban Café, Tracy's Tasties, Viet-Nomie's, and Wow!

JP Blues will perform beginning about 7 p.m. Described as an indie blues band, this power trio features the vocals and guitar work of John Pagano, who has been voted by TrueFire.com as one of "100 Guitarists You Should Know."

The Suwanee Youth Leaders class, comprised of about 50 high school students participating in the City's youth leadership experience, is organizing and managing this event. The students are organizing chalk art, arts and crafts, and an obstacle course as well as a raffle to benefit the Hilaire Foundation for Melanoma.

Glass art exhibit sparkles at City Hall

Sculptures by Atlanta artist Hans Godo Fräbel, considered one of the founding fathers of modern flame glass art, are on exhibit at Suwanee City Hall through September 1.

The Seven Sins and Virtues exhibit, sponsored by the North Gwinnett Arts Association, represents the first time that all 14 sculptures in this collection have been publicly displayed simultaneously. The exhibit also features a few additional pieces, including one from Fräbel's Botanical Garden series. The artworks are displayed on both the first and second floors of City Hall and will be accessible for public viewing from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

The North Gwinnett Arts Association (NGAA) is sponsoring the exhibit and will host an opening reception and artist's presentation on Thursday, June 25. The reception begins at 5 p.m. at City Hall; Fräbel, who is an NGAA member, will discuss his training and career as a scientific glassblower-turned-artist and the technique of flamework in the second-floor City Council Chambers beginning at 7 p.m. Both the reception and presentation are open to the public.

Fräbel art pieces can be found in public and private collections in more than 80 countries worldwide. Two of Fräbel's most famous works are Hammer and Nails, which was first exhibited in 1979 at the New Glass Art Exhibition at the Corning Museum of Glass in upstate New York, and the playful, cavorting clowns that were part of the Absolut Vodka advertising campaign in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

City begins FY2016 with $14.8 million budget

At its June 23 meeting, Suwanee City Council approved a $14.8 million operating budget for fiscal year 2016, which began July 1. This budget represents a 9.2% increase over the $13.6 million budget adopted by the City last year.

The adopted 2016 budget assumes that the City's millage rate will remain at its current level of 4.93 mills; no tax rate increases are anticipated. The millage rate is scheduled to be adopted by City Council in August.

Suwanee's $14,843,060 FY2016 budget includes $45,000 in continued funding for the City's downtown and public art master plans; three new positions and two position upgrades; a maximum 4% pay-for-performance salary increase for staff; and just over $763,000 for capital expenditures that include seven replacement vehicles for the police department and other personnel, two mowers and a chipper, and police dispatch console upgrades and other equipment. Health insurance expenses increased by 11 percent; the City will cover approximately two-thirds of that increase with employees picking up the rest.

The budget also includes Suwanee's annual debt payment for bonds used to construct City Hall and several parks. That payment in FY2016 will be about $1.6 million.


'Dancer XX' by Jack Howard-Potter

Suwanee SculpTour

The 2015-17 Suwanee SculpTour, a walkable public art exhibit in and around Town Center, is bringing more – in some cases, a lot more – than ever before.

  • This, Suwanee's fourth SculpTour exhibit, features more sculptures than ever: 17.
  • It includes more local artists: Six of the 15 artists represented are from Georgia; other artists are from Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, and New York City.
  • Dancer XX, a 20-foot tall galvanized and powder-coated steel sculpture created by Jack Howard-Potter, is the single heaviest sculpture to ever be included in a SculpTour exhibit. Weighing in at 2,700 pounds, this kinetic sculpture of a male figure, who stands on one leg with his arms raised and holding a long piece of fabric, rotates with the wind.

The 2015-17 exhibit is weighty not only in poundage. While several pieces represent the forest canopy and sunflowers or a variety of animals – birds of prey, cows, horses, goats, and birds in flight – several pieces reflect the artists' perception of heavy topics. Some of the themes addressed include the pain of love, looking forward optimistically while absorbing losses of the past, unattainable success, notable attributes of friendship, parent-child relationships, the dichotomy of science and faith, and the concept of awareness. See a list of 2015-17 SculpTour artworks.

A walkable public art encounter, Suwanee SculpTour is a program of the Public Arts Commission. The new exhibit will be on display through March 2017.

Click on the image to enlarge a photo.

2015 Snap Suwanee winners

Suwanee appears fun, outdoorsy, artsy, and snowy in the dozen winning photographs that comprise the 2015 Snap Suwanee exhibit currently on display at City Hall.

Sixty entries were received for this year's annual community photo competition. The winning photographs will be on display until February 2016.

"Snap Suwanee has become one of the City's favorite community engagement projects," says Public Information Officer Lynne DeWilde. "It's always fun to see what strikes our photographers as noteworthy from year to year. This year's winning photos capture moments one doesn't see every day in Suwanee – from a hot air balloon in Town Center to snow to a paddleboarder on the Chattahoochee. They also capture those moments that are more ubiquitous, including folks interacting with public art and utilizing Suwanee parks as backdrops."

Enjoy a few 2015 Snap Suwanee winning photographs in this online slideshow, but stop by City Hall to see and appreciate all of the photos.

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