Genesee/Orleans Regional Arts Council (GoArt!) held its Community Awards Gala last night at Terry Hills Banquet Facility. Honorees Linda Blanchet (Board of Directors Special Recognition Award), Patrick Burk, Lorie Longhany, Medina Sandstone Society (represented by Craig Lacy and Robert Waters) and Chris Busch are pictured.
Bill McDonald, center, was another award winner. He performed for the event with "The Old Hippies" -- Jim Sweet, Kay McMahon and James Catino (Bill Pitcher, far right, is not a member of "The Old Hippies," but presented the award to McDonald).
The other winners (not pictured) were the Holland Land Office Museum, the Le Roy Barn Quilt Project and the Mason Family.
Assemblyman Stephen Hawley was Master of Ceremonies for this 12th annual gala honoring community members in Genesee and Orleans Counties who give of their time, talents and treasure to enrich the artistic and cultural atmosphere of their community.
Patrick Burk was recognized for his contributions to community theater and, in particular, for giving the Batavia Players a new and permanent home with the Harvester 56 Theater.
Norm Argulsky, who presented the award to Burk, credited him with introducing Batavia to "the idea of a theater season," which allows people to know ahead of time what shows will be performed over the course of an entire year.
The Holland Land Office Museum was recognized for "enlivening local history and culture through exhibits, engagement and exploration" (as worded in the event program). Museum Director Jeffrey Donahue and Board of Directors Member Jim Dusen accepted the award.
Jim Owen, also on the museum's board of directors, lauded HLOM for "keeping history alive in Genesee County."
"It's very important that people don't forget our history," he said, "because without history our future might be pretty dim."
Lorie Longhany was honored for her passionate commitment to sharing her love of art with "the young and the young at heart" (Longhany's words), inspiring many young people to pursue careers in the arts and many senior citizens to explore their creativity.
Bill McDonald -- aka "Wild Bill" -- a local musician, was honored "for selflessly performing and promoting music and art, now and for the future."
When presenting the award to McDonald, Pitcher called him "a genuine troubadour."
The Mason family, a family of talented artists whose work has drawn national recognition, and whose paintings can be seen in buildings throughout Genesee County (including United Memorial Medical Center, Bank of America, and the Holland Land Office Museum), were awarded for their contribution to the cultural vitality of our area.
Max and Jane Mason were to receive the award for the family, but they could not attend. Beth Carr accepted the award on their behalf.
The Le Roy Barn Quilt Project, which showcases locally embroidered quilts on barns throughout Le Roy, received an award for "blazing a colorful trail to share (Le Roy's) rural heritage through public art."
Linda Blanchet, former GoArt! president and recipient of the GoArt! Board of Directors Special Recognition Award, was recognized "for dedication, drive and direction in pursuit of shining a spotlight on the arts in Genesee and Orleans counties."
It is worth noting that Burk, in his acceptance speech, credited Blanchet in a special way for getting him back into local theater after he had been away from the stage for 10 years.
Chris Busch, a member of the Orleans County Renaissance Group, achieved recognition "for passion and commitment to bringing cultural experiences into the community."
The Medina Sandstone Society received an award "for embracing the natural as a 'cornerstone' of culture, founding a tradition of community pride."
Guests at the event included representatives from National Grid, Turnbull Heating, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration, O-AT-KA Milk Products, Roxy's Music Store, NYSARC and GCASA, among others.
For more information on GoArt! and its programs and services, call 343-9313, e-mail [email protected] or visit www.goart.org.
Supplemental note on the Holland Land Office Museum
In his acceptance speech, Donahue mentioned that the museum now has the "V" from the old Batavia Downs sign. People who have driven by and seen it hanging for many years can now go to the museum to "see it in person," says Donahue.
Lastly, here are samples of the artwork included in the gala's silent auction:
"Holland Land Office" by Lorie Longhany.
"Hand-painted Autumn Leaf Pottery," donated by Kelly Kiebala.
"Barn on Country Road" by Tom Zangerle.
"Iris with Fence" by Dan Cherry.
"Framed & Matted Print" by Brandi Bruggman.
"School's Out" by Diane Phalen.
"Halloween Wall Hanging" by Linda Kozubal.