Tuesday night, the staff of the Cummer was thrilled to attend the 36th Annual Cultural Council Arts Awards at Christina Foard’s studio in the AT&T Tower in Downtown Jacksonville. The event took place on the 28th floor of the AT&T Tower, with panoramic views of the city, an awards ceremony, performances, artists, great food, and wonderful company.
After the opening remarks thanking Larry Wilson, Betsy Lovett, Christina Foard, Doug Eng, and many, many others, the award ceremony was begun. This years awards were in the form of treasure boxes, designed by local artist Doug Eng.
The first award of the evening went to Burdette Ketchum, who received the Small Business Award for their work in the community, which includes the marketing and public relations for the Jacksonville Symphony Association and Downtown Vision, Inc. The award was presented by Stacy Ridenour, Executive Director of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, and Terry Lorince, Executive Director of Downtown Vision, Inc. Before the award was given, Philip Pan, Concert Master at the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, and his wife Rhonda Cassano, Flautist at the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra performed Simple Gifts. The award was accepted by William Ketchum, President of Burdette Ketchum.
“We are absolute believers in what the arts can do for communities.” –William Ketchum
Next was the Educator Award, which went to Charlotte Mabrey, Percussionist and Professor at the University of North Florida. This was presented by Dr. Deborah Murphy, Chair of the UNF Department of Art & Design, and Fabio Mechetti, Music Director and Principal Conductor for the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra. Gary Donald, a recently graduated student of Charlotte Mabrey, enlivened the audience with a Marimba performance in honor of his beloved teacher and mentor.
“Charlotte Mabrey is admired for the brilliance & innovativeness of her performance.” –Dr. Deborah Murphy
The third award, the Individual Hall of Fame Award, went to Ann Baker (1937-2011) and was accepted by her daughter Missy Boney. Stephanie South’s soprano blew the audience away as she performed an a capella arrangement of Bach’s Contada #78.
Helen Lane, easily the funniest presenter of the evening, shared charming anecdotes about Ann Baker’s life and the founding of the Arts Assembly, which later became the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville. Over the course of her life, Ann Baker touched nearly every cultural organization in Jacksonville.
“Jacksonville is truly blessed to have had Ann Baker.” –Helen Lane
The fourth award, the first ever Innovator Award, was presented to Christopher D. Flagg, President of FLAGG Design Studio, for his work with the Downtown Development Review Board and other work to improve the city of Jacksonville. Flagg was affectionately referred to as “Mr. Pro Bono”. The award was presented by David Engdahl, Innovation Committee Chair for the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville, and Jim Bailey, President of Bailey Publishing and Communication, and Al Letson presented the following spoken word performance about the city of Jacksonville.
The final award of the evening, the Individual Award, went to Susan Greene, for whom a mere title simply does not do justice to the work she has done within our community. Currently on the boards of WJCT and Cathedral Arts Project, she has in some way contributed to most of the cultural institutions in our city through her advocacy and selfless hard work. Diane Brunet Garcia commended her for exhibiting
“the value of a force of will.”
The award was presented by Hope McMath, Executive Director of The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, and Kyle Reese, Senior Pastor at Hendricks Avenue Baptist Church, and The Cathedral Arts Children’s Dance Troupe from Andrew Robinson Elementary performed a Native American dance. Greene was noted as being well informed, trusted, respected, tenacious, and intentional.
“Susan is an eloquent advocate for the arts.” –Pastor Kyle Reese
Following the awards ceremony, the crowd was directed across the hall to the studio of Christina Foard, who also designed the cover art for the invitations and note cards. Inside the studio there were rooms set up for each of the featured artists to exhibit their work and interact with guests. The event was beautiful, the artists engaging, and the food fantastic.