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ArtsWestchester Honors Taconic Opera For Its Contributions to Arts

ArtsWestchester will host an April 4 luncheon at the Crowne Plaza to honor recipients for their outstanding contributions to the arts scene of Westchester County.

Six arts and cultural organizations, as well as two local celebrated artists – illustrator Jerry Pinkney and musical talent Dennis Bell – will be honored with ArtsWestchester’s 2012 Arts Award on Wednesday.

The award recipients will be recognized for their contributions to the arts in Westchester County at a special luncheon held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in White Plains on Wednesday, April 4 beginning at 11:30 a.m. 

"We look to the arts in good times and in bad, to elevate our spirits and to stimulate our imagination," ArtsWestchester CEO Janet Langsam said. "The Arts Award are our way of recognizing those who make that possible."

Presented annually for 35 years, the Arts Award recognize individuals and organizations whose vision, commitment, and leadership enrich Westchester, officials said in a statement. This celebration embraces those who create, teach and support the arts in their local communities and commends their outstanding participation in the cultural development.

The Arts Organization award goes to the Yorktown based , a Westchester County non-profit arts organization that has made an important contribution to the growth of Westchester’s cultural life over a significant period of time, and has had an impact beyond its immediate community.

Taconic Opera: Educating the public about opera is a “mantra” of the Taconic Opera which, in their 14 years of performances, has made their music affordable and accessible to people of all ages. With a series of in-school productions complete with lectures and demos, and a steady stream of free performances yearly, students in particular can reap the benefits of Taconic Opera’s rich cultural offering.

The rest of the Award recipients, as provided by ArtsWestchester are:

Arts Patron Award: A Westchester County organization or resident who has made a significant contribution to the arts through extraordinary leadership, personal commitment, and philanthropic activities, thereby advancing artistic excellence and enriching the community.

  • Westchester Community Foundation has been distributing grants for more than thirty yearsand providing significant support to arts and culture projects that improve the quality of life in Westchester.  Byaddressing community issues and connecting donors to critical, local needs, this Foundation helps to strengthen our local communities.

Artists Award: An artist whose achievements in his or her artistic discipline are widely recognized; whose work has demonstrated a compelling and unique vision; who has produced a significant body of work and who has had an impact on the cultural world and the general public. 

  • Dennis Bell. This prolific jazz musician is an award-winning pianist, songwriter, arranger, producer and conductor who has embraced many different cultures and musical genres during his work with countless musical icons. A music educator for more than 40 years, David Bell, a White Plains resident, is currently an instructor of music theory at Mercy College in White Plains and has performed many pieces from his extensive body of work at several Westchester venues.
  • Jerry Pinkney: Internationally celebrated illustrator and narrative, artist Jerry Pinkney is renowned for his expansive body of work, which includes children’s literature, museum exhibitions, commissions, professorships, television appearances and more. Not only have his richly detailed watercolor paintings illustrated more than one hundred children’s titles, Pinkney is also a trustee of the Katonah Museum of Art and serves as a community leader by regularly participating in local school visits, lectures and exhibitions.

Education Award: An artist or individual, group, school district or organization that, through extraordinary vision and leadership, has enriched arts education in Westchester.

  • Steffi Nossen School of Dance. The Steffi Nossen School of Dance has achieved great things since it was founded in 1937 on the belief that dance is a unique form of education: developing the body, mind, spirit, and character. In its long history, this remarkable organization has embraced hip hop, modern jazz,  ballet and tap, reaching out to a broad and diverse segment of the population. Even students with special needs are integrated into dance classes called “Moving Wheels & Heels” for wheelchair-bound or those with other limitations. Pre-schoolers to professionals have found a home at Steffi Nossen and after 75 years there is no doubt that dance is king in Westchester.

Community Award: An artist, individual, group, school district, organization or agency that has demonstrated extraordinary vision and leadership in using the arts to enhance community life, to increase access to cultural experiences, and to enrich the county’s cultural heritage.

  • Castle Gallery, on the campus of the College of New Rochelle, serves as a vital art resource for the community.  Housed inside a castle that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this gallery hosts exhibitions for new and established artists. Made available to students of the College of New Rochelle, it has also become a resource for arts research—allowing local school groups to benefit from guided tours, and helping teachers to bring the arts into their classrooms with the help of educational kits.
  • Yonkers Philharmonic Orchestra.This orchestra, comprised of 75 musicians, brings live performances to young and old alike. While their four annual free concerts cater to a large senior citizen audience, students of Yonkers Public Schools are given the opportunity to interact with members of the orchestra about their musical experience. The orchestra also regularly introduces original compositions by area composers.
  • Child Life & Creative Arts Therapy (Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital) provides art and music therapy for patients in the Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital. Through the power of the arts, children and their families learn to cope with illness and build self-esteem as guided activities help to improve the physical, mental and emotional well-being of the patients.

Tickets for the ArtsWestchester’s 2012 Arts Award event, as well as sponsorships and luncheon journal ads, may be reserved by calling (914) 428-4220 x326 or emailing afabrizio@artswestchester.org.

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