Friday, February 25, 2011

Event Recap: The Darlington County Arts Awards 2011

Black Creek Arts Council recently hosted the first Darlington County Arts Awards. The Black Creek Arts Center in Hartsville was the site for the awards ceremony. Several people, including artists, educators, business people and community leaders, won a variety awards.

“This was a great night for the Arts in Darlington County,” said Tracy Price, a board member of BCAC. “Our community deserved to be showcased in this capacity. We have so many people, not just artists, who contribute to our thriving arts community. I feel honored to have been a part of this event.”

The first award handed out was the Frankie Bush Award for Leadership. Bush’s dedication to the Arts in our community directly resulted in the renovation of the Black Creek Arts Center, among many other things. The appropriately named award went to Judi Elvington. Elvington served as director of the Hartsville Downtown Development Association for 19 years and helped bring Jazz! Carolina and Renofest to the Hartsville Arts festival scene.

Jessie Smith of the Midnight Rooster took home the Rolfe Godshalk Arts in Business Award. Smith’s business hosts rotating visual arts exhibits, as well as being the site for jazz shows and other concerts.

The Patz Fowle Arts in Education Award was presented to Sissy Carroll. Carroll is the art teacher at both Cain and Brunson-Dargan Elementary Schools in Darlington. Carroll has been an educator in Darlington County for over a decade.

The McCall-Wiggins Award is for an individual who demonstrates an extraordinary level of support for the arts agencies in the community. For the award, support can be interpreted as volunteering, financial contributions and/or attendance at events. Named for Reaves McCall and Betty Wiggins, this award was presented to Clayton Richardson.

Hartsville High School graduate and current Coker College student Dustin Moree was named Darlington County’s Rising Young Artist. Moree has been involved with the Hartsville Community Players and was one of the central performers in ROTFL, an improv night held at the Black Creek Arts Center.

The awards for Visual and Performing Artists of the Year went to Mary Ellen Johnson and Al Haynes, respectively. Over the past year, Johnson has been shown in the OK Harris Gallery in New York and in the Watts Gallery of Indianapolis.

Haynes’ unmistakable jazz music has become a fixture at Saffron, a restaurant in Hartsville, as well as Florence’s Fountainhead. Haynes has also been an integral part of Black Creek Arts Council’s first two Cabarets. He is in the line-up for the third, which will be held on March 5th.

The Joan Coker Award was presented to Judy Haenni for her guidance and leadership as the President of Black Creek Arts Council from 2005-10. Haenni spearheaded many events and programs for BCAC, including the premier BBQ event in the Pee Dee, Black Creek, Blue Jeans & BBQ.

Anna Hill won the Willard Jacobs Award for Volunteerism. Hill, who is active in the Hartsville Civic Chorale, led the All-County Choir for over a decade and has directed Hartsville Presbyterian Church’s Christmas Play over 25 years.

At the end of the night, another honor was given out. The pottery studio at the Black Creek Arts Center was renamed the Willard Jacobs Pottery Studio. Jacobs was a leader with Kalmia Arts and the Hartsville Arts Council, the predecessors of Black Creek Arts Council. Jacobs, of Lydia, is also a very accomplished artist and art collector. Pieces of his work were displayed during the event.

“We’re calling this one the first annual, so look for it again next year,” said BCAC President Carolyn Atkinson.

Next up at the Black Creek Arts Center is the opening reception of the Pate Family Show on March 3rd at 5:30. The Cabaret will be held on Saturday, March 5th. Call 843.332.6234 or visit for more information.

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