The City of Fairmont Arts and Humanities Commission presented its 31st annual “Arts in the City” ceremony Sunday.
Held at Central United Methodist Church, the 2016 ceremony rewarded nine artists and humanitarians for their work.
“Obviously our point is to bring recognition to artists and scholars in the local area,” Jack Hussey, commission member, said.
Clifton “Kip” Price was the humanities award recipient for his work in educating the public on the untold story of the “Wereth 11” soldiers’ sacrifice in the Battle of the Bulge during World War II.
Leigh Anne Bolyard received the music education award for her work as an educator in the arts. She is currently a music teacher at White Hall elementary school.
“I am so honored to be receiving this award and being recognized by the Arts and Humanities Commission of Fairmont,” Bolyard said. “It is just such a huge honor to be recognized.”
The ceremony was special for the music educator as some of her students were also recognized.
“Having two of my students receive an award and being able to receive an award alongside them — just seeing confidence build with my students and being able to celebrate things like this with them is just such a huge blessing,” Bolyard said.
The 2016 recipient of the folk music award was given to Leigh Ann Hood. Hood is part of the “Almost a Song” band and said although her name was recognized, the award really belongs to the whole band.
Patron of the Arts award was given to Kate Greene. Greene believes that the value of the arts is very important to the community.
“It is important that we embrace who we are and what sets us apart as a region and that is the creative class,” Greene said.
Rhonda Sanford was awarded the scholar/artist award for her contributions to the arts. Hussey said, “She is equally gifted in humanities as well as in the arts.”
Sanford is not only an artist, but an educator through lectures, forums and through her books.
For her works in theatre, Linda O’Connor was recognized. O’Connor has worked in Theatre Arts at Fairmont State University.
The Marian Satterfield award began in 2001 in memory of a music educator Marian Satterfield. This award was given to Briana Pudsell.
“To have the opportunity to receive this award has been very thrilling and very humbling. I couldn’t be more greatful,” Pudsell said.
Every year, two students are recognized and rewarded. This year’s recipients were Isabella Diserio and Maddie LaFollette, both of whom attend East Fairmont High School.
Both girls were honored to be given these awards.
“I was thrilled and honored to get this award for something I consider just doing what I love,” Diserio said. “So getting the award and having the recognition part was just icing on the cake.”
LaFollette said she was kind of surprised when she was chosen for the award.
“Receiving this honor was a huge surprise actually,” LaFollette said. “Whenever I got the letter in the mail I just felt so honored and it is just amazing.”
Following the awards ceremony, the awardees were able to speak on behalf of receiving the award and/or perform in their art.
Co-president of the City of Fairmont Arts and Humanities Commission, Sue Montgomery, said she was once again impressed with the awardees.
“Like, Jack Hussey said, we have so many talented people here in Fairmont,” Montgomery said. “We incorporate, through the college, the talent of our kids. Everybody, not only kids but adults, with any kind of music information and want to get involved they’re welcome. I just think Fairmont has a lot to offer, and I am proud of us.”
Montgomery is proud to be able to hold this event.
“I am proud of the Arts and Humanities Commission because I feel like, for 31 years, we have really gone out and recognized all kinds of talent,” she said. “So I think we have done a good job. I am very happy that this event has kept going on. In fact, I think Judy Byers was on the very first commission, so that says a lot.”
Montgomery hopes those who attended will take away something from what everyone said throughout the ceremony.
“That the arts really envelop a community,” Montgomery said. “I think Kate Greene said it very well, that if you support the arts, then the arts are going to support the community, and people are going to come aboard and it is going to help your community grow. I hope they realize that Fairmont, culturally, has a lot to offer, and we need to be proud.”
Note: This story by Kelsie VanderWijst of the Times West Virginian ran in the April 11 edition of the newspaper and is posted here with permission. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. http://www.timeswv.com/news/nine-artists-honored-at-ceremony-photos/article_bd30098c-ff9f-11e5-85b9-c7358f8b8f79.html