Arts Council Announces Annual Awards

Seven awardees recognized for their contributions to the arts and cultural sector

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Award winners L to R: Steve Berlin (Board Member); Alan Proctor of Wells Fargo; Leo Rucker; Toni Tronu; Bob Ihrie of WS Theatre Alliance; David Neill; Abbey and Darrell Garner of ByGood Coffee; Chase Law (President and of Arts Council)

May 20, 2022 (Winston-Salem, N.C.) Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County announced its annual awards at the 2022 Annual Celebration and Campaign Kickoff on Tuesday, May 17 at Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts. Arts Council’s annual awards showcase a variety of individuals and organizations committed to supporting arts and culture across Winston-Salem and Forsyth County. 

2021 award recipients include the following:

 

Arts Council Award: David Neill

 

Arts Partner Award: Winston-Salem Theatre Alliance

 

Arts Educator Award: Leo Rucker

 

Business Leader in the Arts Award (2): FaderRE + Wells Fargo

 

R. Phillip Hanes, Jr. Young Leader Award: Toni Tronu

 

Community and Arts Impact Award: ByGood Coffee

The awards were made by local artist, Affee Vickers who currently has a current exhibition, Mediums in Motion, in the Main Gallery at Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts. With his West Indian heritage and longstanding career in fabrication, construction, and music, Vickers founded Affee’s Art Design in 1990. His creative ingenuity in the areas of glass, acrylic, oil, stainless steel, titanium, copper, wood, and abstract art are distinctively unique, and make this year’s awards even more special.

About the Awards and Awardees

The Arts Council Award recognizes an individual who exhibits a significant commitment to volunteer service and has made a lasting impact on our arts community.

This year’s Arts Council Award recipient is David Neill. On January 9, 2020, David Neill of Mercedes-Benz Winston-Salem (Bob Neill Inc.) stood at this podium announcing the launch of Beethoven Rocks Winston-Salem, a year-long festival celebrating the contributions of Beethoven who was celebrating his theoretical 250th birthday. This celebration brought together dozens of arts and cultural partners to produce events celebrating Beethoven’s contributions. While the festival didn’t happen exactly as planned (COVID), David maintained his commitment to supporting the many organizations who were participating in this exciting festival. His 38 years of community involvement have spanned numerous boards and capital campaign committees including his current work as board chair of Reynolda House Museum of American Art and Greater Winston-Salem, and memberships on Best NC, United Way of Forsyth County, Twin City Young Soccer Association, Novant Health, and others. He is also a past board chair of Arts Council’s. We are grateful for David’s great support of the arts and are pleased to present him with this year’s Arts Council Award.

The Arts Partner Award recognizes an arts or cultural organization that is of high artistic quality and serves to enhance life in our community through the arts. This award pays special attention to both long-standing programs and organizations that have played a consistent role in the community and new organizations and programs that meet a previously unmet community need or focus area.

The 2021 recipient of the Arts Partner Award is Winston-Salem Theatre Alliance. Founded 38 years ago, the mission of Winston-Salem Theatre Alliance is to inspire, transform and unite the people of the Triad through a broad range of unique, diverse, and unconventional theatrical experiences. Over the pandemic, Theatre Alliance leveraged its new home located at 650 West Sixth Street to host outdoor productions in the parking lot, vaccination clinics, and community gatherings.

The Arts Educator Excellence Award recognizes an educator or teaching artist who has enriched the education of our community’s youth and inspired the next generation of artists, patrons and creative individuals. 

The 2021 recipient of the Arts Educator Excellence Award is Leo Rucker. Last year, Rucker led a mural project at Carter G. Woodson School that included hand-painted portraits of the school’s founders and images of well-know people such as Maya Angelou, Ruby Bridges, Chris Paul and others. Rucker said, “it was a great opportunity to help improve the school and introduce the students to something new.” Students were able to learn several different techniques and styles while working with Rucker, including drawing on a large scale and transferring. Math was also incorporated into the art lessons using angles and measurement. “It’s been wonderful to be able to share a part of myself while teaching the students something new,” Rucker said. “I think it’s very important that the older generation share their wisdom and what they know with the younger generation, so I feel like with this, I’m just doing my part.”

The Business Leader in the Arts Award recognizes a local business, non-profit or government workplace for its exemplary efforts to integrate the arts into its workplace culture and employees’ lives. This year, we are recognizing two entities.

Our Business Leader in the Arts Award with less than 1,000 employees is Fader RE. Fader RE is one of Winston-Salem’s most innovative real estate groups founded by arts and cultural enthusiast, Clare Fader. Fader RE is recognized for their local expertise, and their commitment to community. Clare’s vision and commitment to uplift Winston-Salem and all its wonderful arts and cultural offerings is evident in her approach as she continues to build her business in Winston-Salem by prioritizing “innovation in home sales through investing in social capital.”

Our second Business Leader in the Arts Award recognizes a local business, non-profit or government workplace for its exemplary efforts to integrate the arts into its workplace culture and employees’ lives.

Our Business Leader in the Arts Award with more than 1,000 employees is Wells Fargo. Founded in Winston-Salem as Wachovia National Bank in 1879, Wells Fargo has served our community generously and has helped for Arts Council to serve as the largest funder of arts education within the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School District. Since 2012, Wells Fargo has invested more than $850,000 in the Wells Fargo Arts-in-Education Grant that connects artists and arts organizations with elementary, middle, and high school students, by funding programs designed to awaken their intellectual and creative curiosity. They have played a major role in supporting the arts and cultural sector for many years and have invested millions over its lifespan.

The R. Philip Hanes, Jr. Young Leader Award recognizes an individual under 40 years old whose time, talent and energy have furthered the mission of supporting and promoting the arts and culture of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, leaving a legacy of service for future young leaders and for the future of the arts in this community.

This year’s recipient of the R. Philip Hanes Jr. Young Leader Award is Toni Tronu. Toni has been involved as a leader in the arts and cultural sector through a variety of ways. Tronu is the owner of Visual Index, a woman-owned independent art gallery located on Trade Street featuring art from all 50 states with an emphasis on North Carolina art. It was voted Best Art Gallery in the Triad in 2020 and 2021. As a previous co-chair of Art Nouveau, Tronu spearheaded the 2020 Artist Relief Impact Fund as an organizer and panelist by creating assets to encourage grassroots fundraising to impact artists who were hit the hardest in our community.

The Community and Arts Impact Award recognizes an organization or group that uses arts and culture to positively engage with our community in impactful and innovative ways to elevate local artists. This year’s recipient of the Community and Arts Impact Award is ByGood Coffee.

Led by Abbey and Darrell Garner, ByGood Coffee has demonstrated their commitment to supporting local artists and building community through their in-house gallery of talented visual artists and their hosting of many ByGood Artist Popups over the pandemic. Originally from Ocean Side, New York, the Garners relocated to Winston-Salem and signed the lease for ByGood Coffee to open in March 2020. When traditional art galleries were closed, ByGood offered an opportunity for local artists to show their work as well as make an income. We are grateful for the continuous partnership we have with ByGood and hope you’ll enjoy their fresh coffee on the corner of Marshall Street and Brookstown Avenue. 

Arts Council of Winston-Salem & Forsyth County is the chief advocate of the arts and cultural sector in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County. Arts Council’s goal is to serve as a leader in lifting up, creating awareness and providing support to grow and sustain the arts and cultural offerings throughout our region, ultimately bringing our community together and making it a great place to live, work and play. 

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