North Shore Awards Show Recap
There’s nothing like a shiny gold medal to melt away the winter blues. Back in January, when the temperatures were bone chilling and the snow was piled high, the North Shore studio hosted our annual Awards Show. We celebrated our accomplishments in the warm glow of the extended studio community, including friends and loved ones. Many thanks to those who could join us for this very special event. The studio was packed with friendly faces and you drove away the winter chill.The evening included an hour of dinner (provided by our friends at Rogue Philanthropy) and drinks, served while guests enjoyed the new exhibition in our gallery. In addition to work from each individual artist, photo group displayed pieces from several collaborative series for the first time. Hip Hop group shared a video highlighting the moves they’ve learned in their time together.The Awards Ceremony followed dinner. As in past years, each artist was recognized with a medal and had the opportunity to make an acceptance speech. The Drama group presented a sneak peek of their original play “Alice in Blunderland.” Van Go Go performed an acoustic set of crowd favorites.To see images of the event, please click here to visit our Facebook album. If you attended the event and would like to provide feedback, please take our survey to help us make next year’s Awards Show even better!The evening couldn’t have been possible without the help of our incredible volunteers, ever willing to take on whatever challenges are thrown at them. Thank you to Cindy Shanker, Sandy Lang, Megan Cox, Vanessa De Leon, Maria Palmer, Farah Ahmad and Kristin August. And much graditude to Dave Gebhardt of Rogue Philanthropy, a mission-driven organization that really knows their way around a kitchen. For those of you who weren’t able to attend the event, here is a list of award recipients in the order they were presented.Ed Rawski, Jack O’Sullivan, Renata Berdes and Yordan Yanev – Circle Award — The Circle Award is given to the newest artists to complete our community circle. Each of them is an integral piece of our larger studio community. Their presence makes our community distinct and whole. Ted Gram-Boarini – Ambassador Award – Ted has many connections in a variety of worlds – art, music, disability, his hometown of Evanston, just to name a few. He’s been extremely generous at sharing those connections with the studio in order to bring new opportunities to our community. He is a networking natural thanks to his outgoing personality and ability to see collaborative possibilities. David Jonaitis – 6th Man Award — Every good basketball team needs a 6th man – someone who is multi-talented with consistently high stats and a willingness to jump in the game at moment’s notice. On The Arts of Life team, David Jonaitis is this man. He subs in anytime we need a hand. Having him in the studio is a real game changer. Erinn Nariss – Role Model Award — Erinn models the values of The Arts of Life each time she joins the studio. She consistently strengthens her art practice through careful, dedicated work. She tries every community activity offered. She expresses her care towards her colleagues through acts of service. Sean Kremer – Strength Award — Sean is driven to draw and doesn’t let anything get in his way. Art making is his oasis when life gets bleak. His pictures are often populated by heroic characters with bulging muscles, ready to save the day. But it’s the man behind the drawings who’s the real tough guy, staying strong when life is tough. Montell Payne – Self-Advocacy Award — As most of you know, Montell Payne does not use his natural voice to speak. But that is not to say he is a quiet man. He works tirelessly to make himself heard and understood. Despite not having his Dynavox for the past 18 months, Montell has ensured that his needs are met, which is a feat. Beyond that, he has deepened his relationships and helped shape his studio. All with just two simple hand signals, his expressive face and his lively body language. We never stop being impressed with Montell’s ability to communicate with his community.Becky Kubica – Kindness Award — Becky is kind to everyone. No exceptions. She persists in reaching out to everyone in the studio community over and over, starting fresh each time she encounters a barrier or stumbling block.Antonie Smith – Ann Gunsberg Award — This special award is given to the artist from whom the studio community learns the most. Through our relationships with this artist we become better people. In every situation, Antonie is always himself. What he asks for in return for his authenticity is understanding and compassion. Cole Fox – Wild Man Award– Cole is a self-identified WILD MAN. He fearlessly tackled the many challenges of joining the studio, such as learning about art making, establishing an art practice, trying out community activities, getting to know everyone and making himself heard. We cannot wait to see what this next wild and crazy year brings for Cole.Rebecca Turner – Chocolate Chip Award — Rebecca loves all things sweet. Colorful paintings, bubbly conversation, cutesy nicknames. And of course, cupcakes and cookies. Like all of us, Rebecca has her salty moments, but they’re gone in a flash. You know they’re over when she wrinkles her nose and calls you her little Chocolate Chip. Right back attcha, Becca. Emily Aussem – Art Exploration Award — History tells us that great artists change directions throughout their careers. Emily made a 90-degree turn this year when she abandoned representational work and began experimenting with abstract painting. It’s clear that she loves interacting with paint in this new way and is once again excited about art making.Quinn Zenner – Out of the Box Award — Quinn identifies strongly as a rebel and a creative person. He constantly asks, “What is art?” and pushes the boundaries between mediums and styles. He is a consummate writer and visual artist, but continues to look for other creative outlets. Phil Gazzolo – Gentleman Award — In our busy, dog-eat-dog world, good manners are often hard to come by. Phil Gazzolo reminds us that being polite and kind goes a long way, especially in a community that is always growing and changing. His willingness to listen to others, consider every suggestion and try anything once has endeared him to us. Josh Stern – Knowledge Award — Josh has a keen sense of place. His knowledge of the North Shore borders on encyclopedic and he uses what he knows to connect with the people he cares about. His affection for place can be seen in his artwork as well. He frequently depicts faraway landscapes, distant cultures and modes of transportation as he strives to broaden his knowledge of the world around him. Daniel Frownfelter – Renaissance Man Award — Is there an art form that Daniel doesn’t love? We dare you to try and find one. This guy is an integral part of our visual arts, drama and music programs. He knows the lyrics to every song on the radio and seems to have choreographed routines to all of them while simultaneously painting pictures of the pop stars he emulates. Daniel seeks to be a master of many forms.Amanda Gantner – Determination Award — Amanda is determined to make the most of the studio. She has steadily developed her art practice over several years while simultaneously trying out every activity introduced, especially the ones that push her physical limits. She has challenged herself to speak up as a member of the studio community and make her voice heard. Nikole Heusman – Rock Star Award — Nikole is at the top of her game. She’s spent the last few years settling into a flourishing visual arts practice and finding her musical identity as a vocalist and drummer. She has learned to balance her commitments by saying yes to what’s important to her and no to the things that burn her out. She takes the initiative to help anyone in need – band mates, friends, and newcomers alike. Rock on, sister! Russell Copenharve – Leadership Award — Russell takes every chance he can get to tell the world about The Arts of Life and how important the studio is to him. Tonight is our opportunity to tell Russell how important he is to us. Mr. Copenharve has been a vital part of the success and development of the studio community. He has a variety of teaching roles as part of both the demo and safety committees. He is an active participant in our collective decision making process. He represents the studio to the larger community at art festivals and presentations. We are grateful for his presence everyday. Evan Madsen — Mendel Bronfeld Award — This special award is given to artists who move at their own pace. Through their constant presence in our community, we learn to respect them and gain a better sense of who we are because of our relationship with them. Evan has taught us to adapt to the different speeds at which he approaches the many different situations he encounters in the studio.Brian Reed – Good Neighbor Award — Brian genuinely enjoys meeting new people and learning more about them. He’s also dedicated to building and maintaining his existing relationships. These skills will surely be an asset as he acclimates to his new neighborhood after a move this year. Brian is an excellent addition to any community, be it an art studio or a new block. Elise Hylton – Cultural Curiosity Award — Elise moves through the world with her eyes wide open and is endlessly curious about the people around her. She wants to know why each person is who they are or how they do what they do. She wants to get to the bottom of human culture. She is an asset to the studio community because she doesn’t shy away from tough questions, like “How can I better communicate with someone who doesn’t speak?” or “What’s the best way to make friends with someone new?” Andrew Sloan – Schwartz Award — Andrew is an everyday hero. Each time he arrives at the studio, he is ready to help others in any way possible. He is a man dedicated to his principles in both life and art. If The Arts of Life were an action movie, Andrew would rescue us all. He is our Arnold Schwarzenegger. Alicia Porter – Professionalism Award — Alicia is an experienced professional in her chosen field of watercolor and gauche. She arrived at The Arts of Life with a BFA and a strong art practice honed by years of work. The studio is her natural habitat and she strives to make others as comfortable as she is by sharing her wisdom in a kind and respectful manner. Billy Borgerd – Acounta”billy” Award — Billy knows everything that goes on in the studio when he’s here. If someone is absent or running late, he makes sure we all know about it. And if he catches you sleepin? Look out! Billy will fire you on the spot. A successful community needs accountability, so we are honored to present Billy with the Accounta”Billy” Award. Laura Greenberg – Integrity Award — Laura makes work because it feels good to put brush to canvas. Her paintings are studies in color and movement. There is both consistency and spontaneity in her approach. We are grateful to have such an uncompromising artist in our midst. Hector Jones – Charisma Award — Hector Jones has a charm and swagger that inspires devotion in his friends. Underneath all the flirting and banter, he genuinely cares about the studio community and makes an effort to connect with each person in a special way. He is the very definition of the word charisma. Pam Robe – Da Vinci Award — Pam has spent her years at The Arts of Life honing her craft and developing an unwavering individual style. Like the great masters of old, she has found a deep understanding of her medium. Pouya Bagherian – Everything’s Happy Award — When Pouya walks in the door, everything gets a little happier. He’s a friendly guy with a sunny disposition and it’s hard to be a grouch when he greets you with one of his catch phrases. This year, Pouya brightened our days by trying new art making processes, being kind to his friends and cheerfully helping maintain the studio. Laura McManus – Veronica “Ronnie” Cuculich Award — Ronnie was our founding artist and a leader throughout the first ten years of our organization. This special award is given to the artist who embodies Ronnie’s characteristics: a free spirit, an independent thinker, an instinctual artist. These artists remind us who we are and why we started The Arts of Life. When we first met Laura, we could not conceive of the ways she would shape our community and we never imagined she would become such a powerful matriarch.