Nominees Named for 2023 COTA Awards

Artists, educators and volunteers will be honored in August for their contributions to the region’s culture. The Tri-County Arts Council’s Arts and Cultural Awards nominees have been named by organizers, and the winners will be presented at the Celebration Of The Arts event. 

As the TCAC continues to advocate for the entire region, officials announced the event will be held in Chautauqua Country this year, at 4 p.m. Aug. 13 at the Pearl City Clay House in Jamestown. The event will continue to honor artists, arts organizations, or arts supporters from Allegany, Cattaraugus, and Chautauqua counties. 

Awards include:

Thomas Barnes Lifetime Achievement — Named after longtime Arts Council board president, this award celebrates the career of an individual artist, organization, individual at an organization, or individual artist who, among other distinctions, has demonstrated particular commitment to his or her work throughout a long career and has made important contributions regionally, nationally or internationally in his/her field, especially at a milestone marker, such as retirement, job change, posthumous recognition, etc. Nominees are Betsy Cashing of Southern Tier Symphony; Robin Zefers Clark of Brookside Studio Watercolors; Ruth Fuller of Olean Community Theater; Sarah Phillips of Auntie’s Place in Rushford; Helen Ruggieri, a poet from Olean; and Glenn Zweygardt, a sculptor from Alfred Station.

Distinguished Artist of the Year — This award honors individual artists in any discipline for their creative excellence and superior accomplishments in 2022. Nominees are Lucy Andrus, founder/coordinator of the Art Discovery program in Brocton; Sean Conklin of the St. Bonaventure University Quick Center; Sean Huntington as a painter; Peter Jones for pottery; and Mikel Wintermantel as a painter.

Excellence in Arts Education — This award honors an arts educator for their work in providing art instruction that helps to guide the next generation of artists in our region and cultivating lifelong supporters of the arts. Nominees are Laurie Donner, The Dancer’s Loft dance studio; Ruth Fuller, Hinsdale Central School; Shelley Greene, director of children studies at Neighborhood School of Dance; Kellie O’Brien, Olean City Schools District; Geraldine Smith of Olean; and Diane Willard of Wellsville Central School District.

Volunteer of the Year Award — Many of the region’s arts and cultural organizations rely on volunteers to put on the show. This award recognizes the outstanding volunteer efforts of an unpaid individual or group that has had a major impact on the arts and culture sector. Nominees are Ruth Flood of Allegany, Julie Hamilton of Ellicottville, Melissa Locke of Allegany, Scott Reed of Allegany, and Eric Van Druff of Cuba.

Program of the Year — This award will honor the achievement, dedication, and creativity of an individual or organization from each county of the three counties. Nominees are Allegany Artists Association and Palmer Opera House in Allegany County; Artist in Residency Program at Seneca Iroquois National Museum in Cattaraugus County; “Artistic Explorers” at the St. Bonaventure Quick Center for the Arts in Cattaraugus County; the Art Discovery program of Tri-Church Parish in Chautauqua County; and the Darwin R. Barker Library Oral History Project in Chautauqua County. 

Tickets are $45 each or two for $80.  CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE NOW!