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June 13, 2013

Local artists raise $20,000 for mental health group

Contributed Photos
Blues guitarist Linwood Taylor.
Vocalist and songwriter Brooksie Wells.
Edward Payne presents a photography show.
Singer Olivia Caron.
The Blue Ridge Barbershoppers Chorus.
Local artists Saturday night raised $20,000 for The Mental Health Association of Fauquier County.

Arts Fusion 2013 featured an eclectic range of performances on The Fauquier Community Theatre stage at Vint Hill. A reception at the Inn at Vint Hill followed.

Washington rock radio DJ Cerphe Colwell donated his time to serve as the master of ceremonies.

Performers included:

• Vocalist and songwriter Brooksie Wells and blues guitarist Lynwood Taylor.

• Sara Gaydash from the Manassas Ballet Theatre.

• Edward Payne, a photographer.

• Olivia Caron, a singer.

• Daniel Zieman, a violinist.

• Alan J. Kelly, a singer.

• John Marshall Cheatwood, storyteller.

• Crystal McKinsey, a singer.

• The Blue Ridge Barbershoppers Chorus.

MHAFC works to make taboos associated with candid discussions on mental health a thing of the past, Executive Director Sallie Morgan said. That includes addressing and treating mental health issues early.

Part of MHAFC's funds support a mental health specialist position for the Fauquier County Public Schools. The “Catching Kids in Crisis” campaign provides intervention for the at-risk students and their families, and offers training to school staff and to families on issues such as anxiety and depression.

The effort has helped 68 students and their families in the past year, Mrs. Morgan said. The school budget for next year includes significant funding for the position – a first for the county. The public funding coupled with MHAFC's contribution — made possible in part through the Arts Fusion event — will help the program expand.

“When we see tragic things happen on a national level, we say, ‘What could we have done? How can I protect my children? What can one person do?’ ” said Pam Burch, the Arts Fusion chairwoman.

“I think we answered that,” Mrs. Burch added. “One person can make a donation, and that money goes directly to a cause that’s changing lives in our community right now.”

Arts Fusion will become an annual event, she said.

The event’s key sponsors included McKinsey Development, Fauquier Health, EcoPlanetRadio.com, The Fauquier Bank, Fauquier Working Together Committee, Rappahannock Rapidan Community Services, Arts Consulting International, GEICO, WTOP-FM, BOWA Builders, Piedmont Pediatrics, Family Docs On Call, Pat and Bill Barr, Sallie and Todd Morgan, and GRC Direct.

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