Patty Edwards Honored as Art Educator ~ Alli Award November 2009

Passionate dedication to Chrysler earns ALLI award for its director

The Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk has been open for free since Sept. 2, and that’s largely due to the passionate dedication of the museum’s director, William J. Hennessey.

Since he arrived in 1997, Hennessey has pursued partnerships with other cultural organizations and worked at making the museum more accessible and appealing to a broader range of people. Hennessey also has volunteered extensively and is on the boards of the Norfolk Public Art Commission, the Norfolk Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Norfolk Forum.

For his efforts, Hennessey was awarded the Vianne B. Webb Award for Lifetime Achievement on Sunday. His prize was announced during the annual Alli Awards sponsored by the Cultural Alliance of Greater Hampton Roads, an arts support group.

The awards primarily honor contributions in the past year to the local arts community by individuals, businesses and the media. The ceremony took place at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum in Williamsburg.

Patty Edwards was handed the other special Alli, the Bettie Minette Cooper Arts Educator Award. A former elementary school art teacher, she has been the lone art lecturer since 2006 at the Old Dominion University-Virginia Beach Higher Learning Education Center.

Edwards has excelled at connecting her art-education students with community organizations through public art projects.

This year’s media award went to Mal Vincent, an arts and entertainment writer for more than 40 years at The Virginian-Pilot, and its former entertainment editor.

In the 1970s and 1980s, he reviewed virtually every area theater production. Early on, he wrote extensively about the regional arts scene, including covering the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, the Virginia Stage Company and the now-defunct Tidewater Ballet. He now writes primarily about theater and film.

Vincent hosts a festival of classic films each summer at the Naro Expanded Cinema in Norfolk, which consistently draws packed houses.

Winners in the professional arts category were John Dixon of Norfolk, and Diana Davenport and Martha Frances Fortson, both of Portsmouth.

Dixon has been executive director since 2003 of the Academy of Music, which offers about 10,000 hours of private music lessons each year to students of diverse socio-economic backgrounds, regardless of their ability to pay. He is credited with restoring the organization’s fiscal health and building its programs.

Davenport, art supervisor for Portsmouth public schools, has taught art in the schools since 1967. She has volunteered the past four years at the Portsmouth Museums for an after-school arts enrichment project for at-risk youths.

Fortson, executive director of the nonprofit Portsmouth Museums Foundation, was integral in the creation of the foundation’s regional advisory board. She also recruited volunteers from other cities to advise the foundation’s board of directors during its $4 million campaign to install new exhibits at the Children’s Museum of Virginia.

Four arts volunteers also received awards.

Robert G. “Buddy” Bagley of Chesapeake, a retired senior vice president of the Bank of Hampton Roads, was honored for his work on the Chesapeake Fine Arts Commission from 2004 to 2008. The city created a post for Bagley as honorary arts commissioner, in appreciation of his fundraising and networking. He helped raise money for a stage at Chesapeake City Park, now named Buddy Bagley Stage.

Ken Woolard of Portsmouth is president of Portsmouth Community Concerts, a performing arts series, and volunteers for the city’s outdoor Seawall Art Show. Woolard served on the Portsmouth Museum and Fine Arts Commission, has been a Cultural Alliance board member and has raised large sums for his city’s groups.

Louis Vosteen of Williamsburg is a founding member of the Williamsburg Heritage Dancers, a group that performs English country dances dating to the 17th and 18th centuries. Since 1988, he has faithfully researched the dances and the accompanying tunes, making the group widely known for its authenticity.

The Williamsburg Garden Club was honored for 80 years of contributions to cultural heritage. The organization has raised more than $14.5 million to restore and maintain gardens at some of the state’s historic attractions, such as the Moses Myers House in Norfolk and the 1846 Courthouse in Portsmouth.

The group has taken part in “fine arts and flowers” programs at the Chrysler Museum and the Muscarelle Museum of Art in Williamsburg, which pair artworks with floral arrangements inspired by them.

Teresa Annas, (757) 446-2485, teresa.annas@pilotonline.com

Source URL (retrieved on 11/02/2009 – 11:09): http://hamptonroads.com/2009/11/passionate-dedication-chrysler-earns-alli-award-its-director

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