By Barb Van Atta
When members of the local arts community gather next month to honor five of their own, they also will be honoring the past, present and future of the arts in Broome County.
At a press conference this morning at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Binghamton, Broome County Arts Council Executive Director Laura Knochen-Davis announced the following recipients of BCAC’s bi-annual Heart of the Arts awards:
• HOTA Lifetime Achievement Award – Dr. Timothy G. Perry, Binghamton University music professor and Binghamton Community Orchestra musical director
• 2016 HOTA Awards – Margaret “Peg” Johnston, photographer and public arts advocate; Emily Jablon, mosaics artist, and Harold and Toby Jean Manker, program directors of the Phelps Mansion Museum.
A gala celebration is planned for 6 p.m. Sept. 19 in the grand ballroom of the DoubleTree, 245 Water St. (for more information and to purchase tickets, click here)
The Heart of the Arts Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes an individual who has had a significant long-term impact in the arts in Broome County. These individuals are chosen by the BCAC Board of Directors after a careful nomination process
Perry has just completed his 30th year at Binghamton University, where he is Director of Orchestral Activities and Instrumental Conducting and Professor of Studio Clarinet. He is active throughout the world as a soloist, chamber musician and teacher.
But while lauding all of Perry’s professional accomplishments, his nominators chose to focus on his dedication to the amateur musicians of Broome County. From 1994 to 2004 and again from 2013 through the present, Perry has directed the Binghamton Community Orchestra. He was cited for helping the BCO’s musicians reach new levels of accomplished playing.
Heart of the Arts Awards recipients are honored for significant recent contributions to and impact on the arts in Broome County. They are nominated by the community and voted upon by the arts council membership.
Johnston, a founding member of the Cooperative Gallery 213 on State Street in Binghamton, has been active for years in bringing public art to the streets of Binghamton and making “blight the inspiration for art.” She was nominated in particular for her efforts as one of the founders of the Department of Public Art, which created the Water Street “Birthplace of Virtual Reality Mural Project,” and for her leadership of Mural Fest 2015, which resulted in 30 murals subsequently being placed on boarded-up properties throughout Binghamton. The murals saluted the vibrant, creative past and present of Binghamton.
Jablon, a nationally recognized mosaics and glass artist, was nominated for her love of the community as exemplified by the creation of public installations that bring beauty throughout downtown Binghamton and promote what’s good about the city. She supported at-risk and underserved populations, including individuals with disabilities, runaways and the homeless by providing training in mosaics art and guidance during development of such installations as the “Confluence Arts Project.”
As board members and program directors of the Phelps Mansion Museum, the Mankers have brought a wide variety of events to the former Monday Afternoon Club in Binghamton over the years, from a chamber music series and a cooperative concert effort with the Binghamton University Music Department to a Chinese New Year celebration and a Downton Abbey preview. However, they were specifically nominated for their diligent and successful accomplishment in registering and chartering the Phelps as a “house museum” in compliance with the New York State Board of Regents.
They also had significant input, as Chair and Vice Chair of the museum board, into the strategic planning of the museum and the recruitment of the executive director, as well as numerous volunteers and docents, while raising funds through grant writing.
The Heart of the Arts Ceremony, celebrating the movers, creators and lovers of the arts in Broome County, will feature food, performances and art displays. For tickets and more information about both the lavish awards celebration and the HOTA art raffle, visit www.broomearts.org/hota.