Friday, March 4, 2011, 12:39 PM - Posted by Administratorhttp://www.lohud.com/apps/pbcs.dll/arti ... 1103030359
Local artists, groups receive arts awards
Written by Karen Croke
From a couple with a world-class art collection to an innovative art program at a public school system to a dedicated special-ed teacher, the annual Arts Awards, given by ArtsWestchester, recognize both individuals and organizations for their outstanding contributions to the cultural life of Westchester County.
This year, five individuals and five organizations were honored. "This is our version of the Academy Awards," says Janet T. Langsam, who heads ArtsWestchester.
The Arts Award has been presented annually for more than 33 years. Past honorees include Frances Sternhagen (2010), Nelson Rockefeller (1977), and U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins (2002), as well as The Performing Arts Center at Purchase College (2001), and the Caramoor Center for Music & the Arts (2006).
An awards luncheon honoring this year's recipients will take place on April 6.
This year's honorees are:
Arts Patron: Art collectors and benefactors Doreen and Gilbert Bassin have served on boards and councils of the Neuberger Museum, Smithsonian National Museum for African Art, MOMA and New Museum. Their private collection, which they open for select groups, includes the works of Henry Moore, Andy Warhol, Jim Dine, Huma Bhabba and Arshile Gorky.
Artist: Writer Benjamin Cheever has written novels (" Famous After Death," "The Plagiarist," ) along with two memoirs, "Selling Ben Cheever" and "Strides: Running Through History with an Unlikely Athlete." Along with fellow writer Warren Berger, Cheever help found the Marmaduke writing factory in Pleasantville, which serves as both a space for writers and a networking group.
Arts Organization: Since 1972, Mamaroneck's Emelin Theatre has brought high-caliber performing arts to more than 30,000 patrons each year, including live music, dance, kids performances and theater. The Emelin serves over 40 different regional schools, providing them with substantially reduced price tickets.
Abishai Ben Ruben Mount Vernon, O'Bey Foundation: Abishai Ben Ruben, an activist and educator, founded the Mount Vernon-based O'Bey foundation to make African cultural and educational programs more accessible to the community.
New Rochelle Opera Company: Founded in 1985 by Camille Coppola and Billie Tucker, the New Rochelle Opera Company works to expand the knowledge and enjoyment opera, while creating opportunities for the growth of young professional singers.
School of the Holy Child, Rye: The school has strengthened its art programs, giving students the opportunity to study stage management, dance, create and edit films, and produce music ensembles in wind, string, percussion, and jazz.
Smart Girls Program, Katonah Museum of Art: Targeted toward girls from age 8 to 17, the program, in conjunction with the Boys and Girls Club of Mount Kisco, aims to increase self-confidence in "at risk" tweens and teens. Girls in the program are trained to lead tours of the museum, and also learn about, create and study art.
Innovative Strategies Program, Mount Vernon School District: This program, which received an Edward E. Ford Foundation Grant in 2007, paired art teachers with artists to help educators learn how to incorporate local exhibitions and cultural programs into all areas of learning, including, mathematics, science and English.
Sophia Abeles Award for Community Arts: Given each year to a teacher or teaching artist doing exemplary work in arts-in-education in an underserved school in Westchester. Fuentes has been an art educator for students with special needs in The Greenburgh Academy in Yonkers since 2005. Fuentes is also involved in many community arts organizations including the Side By Side Artist mentoring program.