Seven locals honored in Mayor's Awards Sunday

Posted: Thursday, September 17, 2009

The third annual Mayor's Awards for the Arts, presented Sunday at the Juneau Arts & Culture Center, honored Juneau residents for their contributions to the arts.

Courtesy Of Jahc
Courtesy Of Jahc

Winners were selected in seven categories:

• Volunteer: Peter Freer, recognized for his years of service to many organizations in the community from the Arts Council to Perseverance Theatre and Theatre in the Rough.

• Business leadership: Rich Stone, of Alaska Litho, for his support of school art programs and arts organizations in Juneau.

• Artist: Sue Kazama, pianist, for her guidance of musicians and music groups in Juneau.

• Innovative application of the arts: Adele Hamey, of Taku Graphics, for facilitating links between artists and retailers.

• Arts in education: Shona Strauser, director of education and outreach programs at Perseverance Theatre, for her work with elementary, middle school and high school students, as well as artists with developmental disabilities.

• Patron: Lucy Merrell, for nearly 20 years of service on the Juneau Symphony Board of Directors.

• Lifetime achievement: Janice Holst, of Janice Holst School of Dance, for nearly 30 years of community dance instruction.

The lifetime achievement category was added this year to honor Janice Holst, and will probably be brought back next year, said Juneau Arts & Humanities Council Board President Andy Hemenway.

The awards are based on nominations from the community, which are reviewed by members of the Juneau Arts & Humanities Council's Board of Trustees. Honorees received a certificate of appreciation from the board.

Board member Andy Kline said that in making their selections from among the nominations, the board sought to honor up-and-coming arts leaders and volunteers as well as established members of the arts community.

"I felt that the mayor's awards would be an encouraging thing to receive early in their career, not just as a capstone of their contributions," Kline said.

Hemenway said that while the primary purpose of the awards is to show appreciation for those who have made significant contributions to the arts, they also are designed to help kickoff upcoming seasons for local arts organizations and to acknowledge the efforts of volunteers.

"We look at it as an opportunity to say thanks to the volunteers who really make everything happen in this town," Hemenway said.

This year's awards were made more festive with the addition of a cheese-sculpting contest, an idea inspired, Hemenway said, by a conversation about not making the event too "cheesy." A cheese smile, with white cheese teeth, won first prize in the "aged cheese" category, and a cheese-block igloo was honored in the "new cheese" category.

When asked if cheese sculpting would be an annual activity at the mayor's awards, Hemenway said the decision is up to creative masterminds like JAHC Executive Director Nancy DeCherney.

"Who knows? Within good taste, the bounds of the focus of the event are limited only by the imagination of the people in charge," he said.



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