Art award recipients worthy

Tonight, a group of worthy citizens will be saluted at the 18th Annual Arts Awards for the city of Marquette.

We would like to add our congratulations for without art, our community would be a much lesser place.

The awards being given tonight are: Community Impact Award, Grandparents Teach, Too; Youth Award, Milo Birch Staley; Performing Artist, Eclettico; Community Arts Activist, Ann Russ; Arts Volunteer, Susan De Jong; Arts Business Honor Roll, Zero Degrees Artist Gallery; Visual Artist, Ritch Branstrom; Special Recognition Individual, Jason Limberg; Arts Educator, Shane Murray; and Writer, Russell Thorburn.

Tonight’s reception will begin at 6 p.m. at the Marquette Arts and Culture Center, located in the basement of the Peter White Public Library, followed by the awards program at 7. The event will be in conjunction with the Lake Superior Art Association’s annual members show.

Through their efforts, the artists receiving the awards have made the community richer.

“They add a quality of life in our city like no other, and this evening is to honor them and thank them,” said Tiina Harris, community services director for arts and culture, in a story written Thursday by Journal staffer Christie Bleck.

For those unfamiliar with the honorees:

– Grandparents Teach conducts an outreach program for grandparents, parents and caregivers of young children.

– Milo Birch Staley is a 10-year-old musician who has self-recorded and released two albums.

– Eclettico is a string ensemble with a focus on education, outreach and fundraising.

– Russ is a ceramicist who helped organize the Community 100DayProject.

– De Jong is active with the Marquette City Band.

– Zero Degrees is a local cooperative that features artists who make hand-created goods.

– Branstrom is a found-object sculptor noted for his promotion of environmental consciousness through his large-scale works.

– Limberg was awarded Best of Show at the 2013 Art on the Rocks.

– Murray is organizer and director of Music For All Kids.

– Thorburn is the Upper Peninsula’s poet laureate.

Tonight’s event includes entertainment by Jeff Krebs and Amy Lakanen and food from Paladino’s Cafe, which is also located in the basement of the Peter White Public Library. Walt Lindala, chairman of the city of Marquette Arts and Culture Advisory Committee, will be master of ceremonies, with members presenting the awards.

As a special treat, some of the award winners will perform, including Eclettico, Milo Birch Staley (playing the grand piano with his own compositions) and Thorburn, who will give a poetry reading.

Harris said it best: “We’re so proud to be able to support these artists. We want them to know they are important to our community. We are happy they have chosen Marquette to make their home, to work in, to create in, and we want to celebrate that.”

Thanks to all those involved in planning and staging tonight’s events and again, congratulations to all the honorees.