Abilene art community honors outstanding volunteers

ABILENE, Texas - The annual Abilene art awards sponsored by the Cultural Affairs Council were presented Friday night at the Paramount Theater.

Twenty-two awards were given by various arts groups, including the 2014 Outstanding Individual in the arts award.  That went to Beverly Guthrie.

The 2014 Outstanding Business award went to Davis Kinard & Company.

Cultural Affairs Council press release:

ABILENE, TX – The 2014 Abilene Art Awards will be presented tonight to outstanding volunteers and contributors to local arts and cultural groups.

The evening begins with a wine and cheese reception from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Center for Contemporary Arts, 220 Cypress St. The 22 awards will be presented on the Historic Paramount Theatre stage immediately prior to the performance of "Bonnie & Clyde" at 7:30 p.m.

The Abilene Art Awards are sponsored by the Abilene Cultural Affairs Council. The program started in 1984. In addition to the awards presented on behalf of the arts groups, the ACAC also gives an overall individual and business award.


The 2014 Outstanding Individual in the Arts Award goes to Beverly Guthrie, whose volunteer commitment reflects her love for children and her belief in the important role the arts play in their lives. For several years she served on the board, and then chaired the Children's Performing Arts Series. Her next major undertaking was chairing the "Gator Country" event that earned her the nickname "Mama Gator."

For the past three and a half years, Mama Gator has devoted untold hours and support to launching and organizing the Children's Art & Literacy Festival, with a portion of the proceeds benefitting HeARTS for the ARTS, a program that supports children's art activities.  From the first CALF festival featuring the Dr. Seuss retrospective exhibit and Touring Sculpture Exhibit, to last year's festival featuring Walter Wick, to the most recent CALF featuring William Joyce, Beverly has attended to all details of festival organization. In fact, she and her husband, Russell, purchased and have raised "Mini Moo" the zebu - the beloved festival mascot.

Beverly's devotion to children, the arts and Abilene make her a most deserving recipient for the 2014 Outstanding Individual in the Arts Award.

The recipient for the 2014 Outstanding Business Award goes to Davis Kinard & Co. P.C. for its tremendous support of the arts in Abilene.  Davis Kinard has been a vital part of the Abilene community since its founding in 1929.  DK supports the Abilene Philharmonic, the Children's Performing Arts Series, Chorus Abilene as well as many, many other non-profit organizations.  For the past three years, Davis Kinard employees have taken on the responsibility of staffing the registration area for the Children's Art & Literacy Festival for the entire festival.  Accepting the award on behalf of Davis Kinard is managing partner Russell Guthrie, husband of Mama Gator, father of Mini-Moo and loyal CALF volunteer.

The 2014 Abilene Art Awards recipients for each organization are:

Jo Etter:  Abilene Ballet Theatre

Madlyn Mitchell: Abilene Community Band

Lisa Chavez-Owens: Abilene Education Foundation

Conrad Bratton:  Abilene Opera Association (posthumously awarded)

Jennifer Kroeger:  Abilene Performing Arts Company

Carol Hall: Abilene Preservation League

Kim Fenton: Abilene Star Chorus

Jo Cox:  Abilene Writers Guilds

Kathy Morehead:  Abilene Zoo

Brian Doremus: Buffalo Gap Historic Village

Jill Singletary: Celebration Singers

Julie Denny: Center for Contemporary Arts

Jennifer Eller:  Children's Performing Arts Series

Joyce Cole:  Chorus Abilene

Jane Jones:  Friends of the Abilene Public Library

Jamie Villegas: Historic Paramount Theatre

Larry Wolz: National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature

Gayla Neal: The Grace Museum

Mark Young: Mesquite Storytellers of Abilene

Kay Hartgraves:  Young Audiences of Abilene

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