GJ arts panel announces annual champions awards

Local artist Terry Shepherd and Enstrom Candies are the 2008 recipients of the annual Champion of the Arts Awards given out by the Grand Junction Commission on Arts and Culture.

The commission announced the recipients Thursday.

Award winners will be recognized at the Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra Gala on Nov. 15 for their contributions to the local art scene. Each winner will be presented with an original piece of art by local artists Andre Delgalvis and Gayle Gerson.

“So many are so deserving,” said Allison Sarmo, cultural arts coordinator for the commission, which picked only one artist and one business for the awards.

A bittersweet honorable mention award will be given to 13 Photography Gallery, which plans to close its doors Nov. 22. The economic downturn is the reason for its closure, according to an e-mail the gallery sent to customers.

Shepherd was nominated for the Champion of the Arts award by The Art Center, where he is the artist in residence. In the past, three pieces of his pottery have been given as awards by the commission.

Shepherd said he was completely surprised when he was told he would be receiving the award, and that he is thankful the city acknowledges artists and supporters of the arts.

“Art is important in our culture,” he said. “Without the humanities our civilization and culture is mundane.”

From 7 to 9 tonight , Shepherd will demonstrate a raku firing technique during First Friday demonstration night at The Art Center,  1803 N. Seventh St.

Enstrom Candies was nominated by the Mesa State College Department of Theatre Arts for the company’s long-term financial support, according to the news release from the commission.

Jamee Simons, co-owner of Enstrom, said her husband,  Doug, was an actor in the Mesa State theater department in the 1970s. He played the part of Tony in a production of “West Side Story.”

“Music and theater have always been near and dear to our hearts,” she said.

Enstrom is sponsoring the Nov. 19–22 production of “Reckless” at Mesa State.

This year’s symphony gala has the theme Paint the Town Red and boasts some significant big ticket items in its the auction, including a new black baby grand piano and a guitar signed by members of U2.

Tickets to the Symphony Gala and award ceremony cost $125 per person and are available for purchase until Wednesday at the symphony office in the downtown Alpine Bank building or by calling 243-6787.


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