Florence Regional Arts Alliance recognizes individuals
The Florence Regional Arts Alliance hosted a reception during which several community members received recognition for their contributions to the arts community. The backdrop for the evening was the Legacy Exhibit, featuring the work of Tari Federer, Kathleen Kennebeck, Elizabeth Kinser, Julie Mixon and Allison Triplett. The five artists travelled in the footsteps of Ansel Adams to gain a deeper understanding for the work he did to create his well-known iconic images. The images in the current exhibit are from their experience. The exhibit is up through June 28.
Another artist featured during the evening was the 2015 Arts Awards Artist, Jim Gleason. Gleason was commissioned by the Florence Regional Arts Alliance to create this year’s arts awards. The following individuals were recognized through these awards: Ann Rodgers Chandler was awarded the John Baker Award. This award recognizes an individual from Florence County who has significantly impacted the quality of life in our community through his/her activities, contributions, and/or accomplishments in the arts.
Ann Rodgers works tirelessly throughout the Pee Dee region bringing both small and large ensembles of musicians together to perform beautiful works in various cities. She is always willing to accompany choral groups, Florence Little Theatre rehearsals, Florence Symphony performances and more. In addition, her volunteer work on the board of the Florence Men’s Choral Society assures that it utilizes the funds of the Young Musician Scholarship in meaningful ways for students within District One.
The Business & Arts Partnership Award Recipient went to the Willcox, Buyck, & Williams, P.A. This award recognizes a Florence County business for its vital commitment to the arts as evidence by operational and/or project support provided on a substantial and ongoing basis. Willcox, Buyck & Williams, P.A. championed by Reynolds Williams changed the landscape of Florence in 2015 through its organization and support of the “Play Me I’m Yours Project.” Through the establishment of the Willcox, Buyck & Williams Foundation, this partnership built bridges throughout the community and brought people together through music and art.
The Outstanding Arts Organization Recipient was awarded to the Community Museum Society Inc. This award is presented annually to the Florence County arts organization that has a tremendous impact on the community. This may be through programming, projects, resource development, advocacy or other innovation. The Community Museum Society in Lake City has been committed to using the arts as a catalyst for social change within Lake City. Through its establishment of a Smithsonian-qualified art gallery with free admission to the community and its reputation for high quality arts and cultural programming, this organization drives the train for cultural activity within Lake City and surrounding areas.
Annually, this organization impacts over 50,000 people and serves as an outstanding example of what a small organization can do with limited resources and a small, but dedicated staff. The Greg Fry Arts Educator Award Recipient went to Steven Gately. This award is presented annually to an educator who either resides or works in Florence County. Public and private schools educators are eligible for this award, as well as individuals in higher education and those who teach through registered 501(c)(3) arts organizations.
Professor Gately has been a professor of foundations and painting classes at Francis Marion University for four decades, impacting nearly every visual artist in the region either directly (as his own students) or indirectly (as his former students have gone on to teach at public and private schools statewide.) His meticulous nature and strong sense of professionalism have been challenging and rewarding to all those he has impacted. Brad Parham was the Frank Crow Award Recipient. This award is presented annually to a Florence Regional Arts Alliance board member, staff member of volunteer who has had a tremendous impact on the organization’s growth and success (either over the past year or longer period of time).
Parham has served the Florence Regional Arts Alliance since 2009 in the role of president-elect and president. His insightful leadership has proven to be invaluable to the organization through some challenging transitions. In addition to these awards, the Florence Regional Arts Alliance announced the 2015 recipients of the Betty Ann Darby Scholarship Program. They are Greer Spotts, Elliot Venable, and Grayson Cribb.
In addition, David Hobbs was presented with a token of appreciation for his service to the Art Trail Gallery and the Florence Community. A moment of remembrance was taken in honor of Starr Ward, followed by a silent auction piece to benefit an endowment fund to be named in her honor through the Florence Symphony Orchestra. The event was open to the public due to the generosity of its sponsors, First Reliance Bank, the UPS store, She magazine and Diversity Works Magazine.