HCOA announces arts awards

The Homer Council on the Arts announced its annual arts awards at its annual meeting last Wednesday, June 6. In a press release on June 8, HCOA director Peggy Paver announced the winners. The awards are now named in honor of arts leaders who have made a difference in the community, Paver said.

Receiving awards are:

• Mary Epperson Lifetime Achievement Award: Mark Robinson

“Mark has dedicated himself to the people, teaching, and music,” HCOA said. “His career in Homer as the High School and Middle School Choir director was monumental. He encouraged his students to work for excellence while having a wonderful time. In addition to teaching, Mark spent years as the Kenai Peninsula Orchestra conductor, co-directed musicals with Lance Peterson, led numerous Community Chorus and HHS choir concerts and tours on the Kenai and around the world. Homer and HCOA support and appreciate Mark’s passion for the arts that continues today through the Community Chorus, his collaborations with the Homer schools and Pier One Theater. The greater Homer area has been enriched by the work, talent and kindness of Mark Robinson.”

• Mary Langham Volunteer of the Year Award: N. Lynn Whitmore

“Lynn is a longtime resident of Anchor Point and has lived for over 40 years in Alaska,” HCOA said. “An avid hunter and fisherman, much of his spare time has been spent volunteering with organizations that protect wildlife habitat and focus on conservation efforts. In 2016, Lynn extended his volunteer efforts to include being the de facto project manager for HCOA’s Mary Epperson Community Performing Arts Center Expansion Project.”

“Lynn generously provided his engineering and construction expertise and helped with establishing connections with engineers and contractors for HCOA’s expansion project. His steady, organized approach guided HCOA’s Board and Facility Committee as they moved through the various phases of planning and design. HCOA Board recognizes Lynn for his professionalism and extraordinary efforts on this project.”

• Kathy and Mike Pate Business Award: The Grog Shop and Mel Strydom

“The Grog shop and Mel are longtime supporters of nonprofits including the Arts,” HCOA said. “Through donations of goods and money, the Grog Shop and Mel have made our non-profit community stronger and our events a bit more festive. HCOA is continually grateful for the generosity of the Grog Shop and the sense of community Mel and his family share with all of us.”

• Diane Borgman Youth Artist of the Year Award: Falcom Greear

“Falcolm has been a part of Jubilee since he was 8 where he belted out a rendition of Proud Mary that brought the Mariner audience to its feet and would make Tina Turner smile,” HCOA said. “Falcolm’s vocal talents have been shared with our community and beyond including All Nationals for his last three years of school; All Northwest his Freshman and Junior years; All State Mixed Choir; as a member of the highly selective All National Honor Ensemble for the National Music Educators’ Convention; and Oregon Bach Festival in 2017; and as a sold out gallery performer here at HCOA.

“In February, he emceed HCOA’s Jubilee production. He was a Homer High cheerleader and incorporated his love of movement and music in teaching Zumba classes here in Homer. A member of the Homer High class of 2018, he will be leaving Homer in August heading to Baltimore to attend the prestigious John Hopkins Peabody Institute.”

• Jill Berryman Art Educator Award: Sharlene Cline

“Sharlene has been an Art teacher and student in the oldest continuous artistic traditions in the world,” HCOA said. “She has spent 3 years studying with a master in Taiwan developing her skills. She has instructed adults, young adults and kids in this traditional painting. She has worked taught through ArtQuest, Artist in the Schools and as an instructor at HCOA, most recently bringing the modern, animated world of Claymation to Homer’s kids.”

• Art Advocate Award: Daniel Perry

“Daniel currently teaches private violin lesson, is the director Homer Youth String Orchestra Club and is an instructor in Paul Banks’ Preludes program,” HCOA said. “Daniel is a committed supporter of HCOA programming and fundraising. His advocacy of the arts spans all ages and encourages creative opportunities for the collaboration of artists in many venues and settings. He incorporated creative performance opportunities for HYSOC students including performing in the Johnny B video, “Blue Ice” which was accepted into the Colorado Environmental Film Festival and performing on Earth Day for Kachemak Bay Conservation Society.”

• Artist of the Year: Jennifer Norton

“Jennifer grew up in a family engaged and enchanted with theater,” HCOA said. “She comes from a generation of young adults who started in Pier One Youth Theater camps, acted on stages all across town, did a ton of work behind the scenes and then took the place over, literally. Now Jennifer has taken the torch from Lance Peterson to become Pier One’s new Artistic Director but that is not all she does. She also co-directs the Nutcracker Ballet, is a visual artist, and an avid reader.

“Her work in Homer theater is well known and the leadership she now provides is encouraging a new generation of young performers and returning veterans to take to the stage.”

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