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ArtsWestchester Announces Prestigious Honorees for its 2017 Arts Awards Luncheon

Luncheon on April 5 to honor individuals, organizations for their vision, commitment and leadership to enrich the cultural life of Westchester

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (March 1, 2017)
– The 89th Academy Awards captivated the world earlier this week as fans watched to see who would receive the highest honors in filmmaking. In a similar manner, arts enthusiasts, public officials and other leaders in Westchester County will gather in just a few weeks to see who will be honored for outstanding contributions to cultural life in the county.

ArtsWestchester will recognize seven honorees during its annual Arts Awards Luncheon on Wednesday, April 5 at Brae Burn Country Club in Purchase (see complete list below for details on the 2017 honorees). This year’s luncheon is made possible by Westchester Medical Center, Jacob Burns Foundation, Inc. and Emily & Eugene Grant.

“For more than 40 years, the Arts Award has recognized individuals and organizations whose vision, commitment and leadership have enriched the cultural life of Westchester, its communities and its citizens,” said ArtsWestchester CEO Janet Langsam. “This year’s event is expected to attract hundreds of people who will pay tribute to those who have a unique impact on the arts in our community.”

“ArtsWestchester ensures the accessibility and diversity of the arts in the county, so we are pleased to host this ceremony that recognizes a host of remarkable influencers in the arts who contribute to the vibrancy of Westchester,” said ArtsWestchester Board of Trustees President Robert W. Roth.

The 2017 Arts Award recipients are:


Emily and Eugene Grant Arts Patron Award

Lucille Werlinich: Chair, Purchase College Foundation

Lucille Werlinich of Purchase is an avid supporter of the quality of life in Westchester, especially when it comes to the arts and education. As Chair of the Purchase College Foundation, she works tirelessly to support this stellar institution, which is preeminent in dance, music, visual arts and theater.  The importance of the arts and of education for all were values of her late parents, Joseph and Sophia Abeles, a family tradition which continues. In recognition of her mother’s dedication to arts education, Lucille established an award that is given annually by ArtsWestchester to a deserving leader in the field. As a longtime member of the Westchester Community College Foundation, Lucille actively participates in the college’s Scholarship Committee.  She also serves ex-officio on the Friends Board of the Neuberger Museum of Art and the Performing Arts Center Foundation.


The Community Award


WESTHAB began in 1981 as a program that would provide temporary housing to the County’s most economically disadvantaged populations. As the agency grew over the span of 35 years, it has become the largest nonprofit provider of both affordable housing and supportive services in Westchester County. Starting in 2004, those supportive services began to include arts programs in their homeless shelters. Partnering with ArtsWestchester, WESTHAB has provided arts enrichment programs and artist residencies for thousands of individuals and families, successfully winning an NEA award. Through art-making projects, WESTHAB has engaged youngsters in afterschool programs in Yonkers and Mt. Vernon, offering a safe environment for children of all ages to explore their imaginations.


The Education Awards

Scarsdale Adult School

The Scarsdale Adult School offers an outstanding and unique enrichment curriculum for lifelong learning. Established in 1938, the independent, nonprofit organization provides day and evening courses that are open to adults throughout the year, regardless of whether or not they live in Scarsdale. The arts are strongly represented among the school’s wide array of intellectually stimulating, recreational and skill-enhancing courses and lectures.  Included in its arts-friendly offerings are skill development classes, such as writing and photography; recreation, including dance lessons; and humanities courses in subjects like Architecture and Art Appreciation.  Keeping convenience and accessibility in mind, Scarsdale Adult School’s classes take place at nearly twenty locations throughout lower Westchester County.


Songcatchers, Inc.

Songcatchers, Inc. is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing affordable and accessible musical programs to the multicultural populations of New Rochelle and its neighboring communities. The organization, founded by Sr. Beth Dowd, OSU in 1994, consists of choral arts, afterschool music and early childhood music programs. These community-wide activities nurture arts education and foster civic awareness, engagement and pride for the participants and their families. With a variety of musical arrangements presented throughout the year – from beginners and established musicians; vocalists and instrumentalists; children and senior citizens; soloists and ensembles – Songcatchers, Inc. has become a vital resource in the community connecting and engaging its diverse residents.


The Sophia Abeles Education Award

Marion Archer, Teaching Artist

Marion Archer is an extraordinarily talented Westchester-based teaching artist and a founder of The Revelators Dance Troupe (RDT).  The group has evolved from a spiritually-based dance troupe to one that now offers instruction in a variety of dance forms, including African, tap and traditional dances from various countries and cultures. Marion actively honed her dancing skills with the Boys and Girls Club of Mt. Vernon, which later became the home base for her dance troupe. As her career has advanced, Marion has worked with several Westchester schools to bring music and dance into students’ curriculums.  In one of her recent artist residencies at Yonkers School 30, she engaged 200 students to better understand their social studies curriculum through dance and movement related to important African American figures in U.S. history.


The Arts Organization Award

Downtown Music at Grace

Downtown Music at Grace (DTM), provides an oasis of art and culture amidst the bustling downtown of the City of White Plains, especially with its noonday concerts. The nonprofit organization’s roster of artists features talented and well-regarded professional musicians who enjoy performing in the intimate and historic setting of Grace Church. Concerts range from half-hour respites on Wednesday afternoons (“Noonday Getaway” concerts) to full-length weekend performances (“Weekend Discoveries”). The organization also produces a series of concerts that are specially designed for schoolchildren in grades K-12 and its “Concerts on Tour” brings more than 30 concerts per year to nursing homes, hospitals and rehabilitation centers.


The President’s Award

The Katonah Museum of Art’s Himmel Award and Lecture

The Katonah Museum of Art’s Himmel Award and Lecture is an annual event in recognition of nationally-known creators, conceivers, radical thinkers and risk-takers who provoke new thinking in the arts and design. Lectures by these global leaders engage the museum’s community in a dialogue about the impact of visual arts in contemporary society. The Award, now in its sixth year, is named in honor of arts advocate Betty Himmel, who has been – and continues to be – instrumental in defining the program’s direction. The event attracts 200 attendees each year, including students whose tickets are underwritten by Himmel and other generous donors. Past honorees include art critic and curator Robert Storr; Mary Schmidt Campbell, dean of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts; artist and architect Maya Lin; renowned international artist Christo; fashion icon André Leon Talley, former editor-at-large for Vogue magazine; and, most recently, Tony Award-winning director Julie Taymor.


The 2017 Arts Awards Luncheon will be held on Wednesday, April 5, 2017 at 11:30 a.m.  with its reception and boutique, followed by the luncheon and award presentation at 12:00 p.m. at the Brae Burn Country Club, located at 39 Brae Burn Drive in Purchase. Tickets cost $85. For more information about how to purchase tickets for the Arts Awards Luncheon or for more information about ArtsWestchester, visit www.artswestchester.org.


About ArtsWestchester

For over 50 years, ArtsWestchester has been the community’s connection to the arts. Founded in 1965, it is the largest, private, not-for-profit arts council in New York State. Its mission is to provide leadership, vision, and support, to ensure the availability, accessibility, and diversity of the arts. ArtsWestchester provides programs and services that enrich the lives of everyone in Westchester County. ArtsWestchester helps fund concerts, exhibitions and plays through grants; brings artists into schools and community centers; advocates for the arts; and builds audiences through diverse marketing initiatives. In 1998, ArtsWestchester purchased the nine-story neo-classical bank building at 31 Mamaroneck Avenue which has since been transformed into a multi-use resource for artists, cultural organizations, and the community. A two-story gallery is located on the first floor of ArtsWestchester’s historic building on Mamaroneck Avenue.