Arts Center Named Venue for Governor's Awards for the Arts

Published 04.17.2008


Pennsylvania%E2%80%99s First Lady, Judge Marjorie O. Rendell, and Philip Horn, executive director of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, talk with Davie Jane Gilmour, Penn College president, and Veronica M. Muzic, special assistant to the president for academic affairs.Williamsport − and Pennsylvania College of Technology's Community Arts Center − have been selected as the venue for the 2008 Governor's Awards for the Arts on Nov. 12.

The announcement was made Thursday afternoon at the Arts Center by Judge Marjorie O. Rendell, Pennsylvania's First Lady, who will serve as emcee for the ceremonies.

"When we return to host the Governor's Awards for the Arts, Gov. (Edward G.) Rendell will proudly proclaim Williamsport the "˜Cultural Capital of the Commonwealth' for the day," she told the crowd of local officials and media who packed the Arts Center lobby.

From left%3A Rob Steele, executive director, Community Arts Center%3B Rex Hilton, regional president, Susquehanna Bank%3B Jason Fink, executive vice president, Williamsport%2FLycoming Chamber of Commerce%3B Davie Jane Gilmour, president, Penn College%3B Marjorie O. Rendell%3B Philip Horn, executive director, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts%3B and Marilyn J. Santarelli, member, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Steele, Hilton and Fink are co-chairs for the 2008 Governor%E2%80%99s Awards for the Arts.Having toured the Arts Center before making her remarks, the First Lady, who serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, said of the restored Capitol Theatre: "It's just a magnificent gem. It's a jewel of the community."

The Governor's Awards for the Arts, administered by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, honor individuals, arts organizations and patrons who have made a significant contribution to the advancement of the arts in Pennsylvania.

Since 1980, Governor's Awards for the Arts have been presented to such distinguished artists as Jimmy Stewart, Judith Jamison, Andrew Wyeth, August Wilson, James Michener, Marian Anderson, Chaim Potok, Lang Lang, John Updike, Marilyn Horne and M. Night Shyamalan.

"I feel a great sense of pride in our community today and an even greater sense of appreciation for this incredible honor," said Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour. "This day comes as a result of a vision that patrons of the arts here in Williamsport have nurtured for many years. Nearly 20 years ago, Penn College made a commitment to invest in saving this beautiful theater. We believed then − and we know for certain now − that restoring the theater to its full potential could inspire a rebirth of interest in the arts in this community. Thank you to our governor and to Judge Rendell for honoring the arts in our home state."

Philip Horn, executive director of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and Marjorie O. Rendell, unveil Williamsport as the 2008 Cultural Capital of Pennsylvania.Gov. Rendell has continued the tradition of holding the awards in a different Pennsylvania location each year, allowing the selected venues to showcase their unique cultural assets. Communities that have hosted the awards include Reading, Greensburg, Altoona, Gettysburg, Wilkes-Barre, Allentown, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Harrisburg.

Marjorie Rendell said the governor got the inspiration for designating Williamsport as the 2008 venue after touring the so-called "Pennsylvania Wilds" region in 2004.

"This will be the first time the awards will be held in northcentral Pennsylvania. "¦ the governor and I look forward to a memorable evening on Nov. 12," she said.

Gilmour thanked the First Lady "on behalf of this incredible place," adding, "We will make the governor proud."

The Governor's Awards for the Arts are presented by the governor in a public ceremony. Since 2000, audiences for the ceremony have ranged between 800 and 1,300. A reception for the honorees follows the public ceremony. Private contributions support the reception, award objects and related expenses.

Award recipients are identified through an open call. The public may submit nominations until May 23. A panel consisting of Pennsylvania Council on the Arts members will review the nominations and make recommendations. To download an application or receive a nomination form, visit online or call (717) 787-1526.