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September 11th, 2013

Winners announced for 6th annual Art Awards

SUGAR LOAF - The Orange County Arts Council is proud to announce the recipients of this year’s Annual Art Awards to be presented at the 6th Orange County Arts Awards Celebration. This year’s event will be held at Umbra Sound Stages in Newburgh, Orange County’s own premiere film production facility, at 5:30pm on Friday, November 15th.

Every year, the Arts Council proudly recognizes individuals, organizations, and corporations which have made outstanding contributions to the arts in our county. Past recipients of this celebrated award have included individual artists, art patrons, volunteers, nonprofit cultural organizations and corporate patrons.

This year’s recipients once again reflect the diversity, talent, perseverance and generosity of the OrangeCountyarts community and it is an honor to celebrate their accomplishments.

This year, the Lifetime Achievement award will be given to Gene Bove, a former advertising executive in Manhattan, now living in Pine Bush. Upon retirement as VP, Executive Art Director for BBDO in Manhattan and later, BBG&G in Middletown, Gene took the opportunity to fulfill his most serious passion - oil painting en plein air. He joined a weekly plein air workshop led by Shawn Dell Joyce from which sprung the Wallkill River School of Art and Gallery in Montgomery. He is a founder of the gallery as well as one of the instructors at the school. Gene exhibits his work extensively at many events in the Hudson Valley. One of his paintings was purchased by Ottaway Newspapers to be on permanent exhibit at Phillies Bridge Farm in Gardiner. He has many showings at the Wallkill River Art Gallery and other local venues for which he received many positive reviews in the local press. Gene is a signature member of the New York Plein Air Painters, and a member of the Lower Hudson Valley Plein Air Painters.

The award for Individual Artist will be presented to photographer Francesco Mastalia, an internationally published documentary photographer. Traveling around the world he has photographed diverse cultures of tribal, religious, indigenous and spiritual people. His book "Dreads" a photo documentary on the history of dreadlocks is in its seventh printing and includes an introduction by Pulitzer Prize winning author Alice Walker. In addition to his role as an instructor, his photography has been exhibited throughout the United States.

The Arts in Education award is being given to Christopher Tucci, Goshen Central High School Unified Arts Department Chair. Chris has been teaching at Goshen High School since 1987 and implemented the school’s first Video Technology classes. In addition to teaching art and being an accomplished visual artist himself, Chris is the resident school expert on sound equipment and assists with everything from school dances to pep rallies to the Spring musical. He is musically talented as well and was a founding member of the GHS faculty band, Degneration, which performed at many school talent shows, Battle of the Bands and Faculty Follies events.

Newburgh Chamber Music is being honored as this year’s Arts Organization. Carole Cowan and her late husband, oboist Philip West, founded Newburgh Chamber Music with the goal of presenting a variety of classical and contemporary repertoire in the heart of historic Newburgh.

Flourishing for over ten years, the NCM series has included folk artists such Jay Ungar and Molly Mason as well as concerts featuring Brazilian guitar, gypsy/jazz, and vocal, string and wind ensemble music. This year NCM is excited to begin a two year project featuring the acclaimed American String Quartet playing the Beethoven string quartets.

The Corporate Champion of the Arts Award is being given to Noble Coffee Roasters in Campbell Hall. Paul Deckaj, the proprietor of Noble Coffee Roasters, is a tremendous advocate for the local arts community. He regularly features live musical performances and his café has become the home of Music for Humanity’s Free Performance Night which raises money for music scholarships for local high school students. To date, this group has raised over $15,000 thanks to Paul’s support and participation. Noble Coffee Roasters also offers its walls as gallery space to the visual arts community and each month a different local artist’s work can be seen there.

Dan Chester from the Hudson Valley Performing Arts Foundation is being honored as this year’s Champion of the Arts. Dan founded the Hudson Valley Performing Arts Foundation in 2006 to support and enhance the performing arts opportunities for young people and his first project was to partner with Steinway and Sons to bring Steinway pianos to the Warwick School District. He has been working with the Greater NY Wind Symphony to help them reach new audiences and provide opportunities for students to play alongside professional musicians in a formal concert format. Dan also planned and coordinated the first Hudson Valley Performing Arts Fair last year at the Sugar Loaf Performing Arts Center where over 20 performing arts colleges connected with hundreds of talented students.

The Salute to Veterans award is being given to Robert Demetry, a photojournalist who served in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War and as a civilian photographer stationed at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in the 1980’s. Bob worked for Gannett News Service as a chief photographer of the Evening News in Newburgh, NY, maintained an independent photography and public relations consulting business and produced many photographs for the Associated and United Press International wire services. Bob received more than 100 awards for his photographs during his years of military service and, in 1970, was the only American grand prize winner out of 213,000 worldwide entries in the Second Asahi Pentax World Photo competition.

Nancy Reed Jones is being honored as this year’s Champion of the Arts for People with Disabilities. Nancywas trained as an oil painter at the Huntington Art League on Long Island. She had a very successful mural business for many years and painted murals for the cancer patients in a hospital where they were used as "Guided Imagery" to help alleviate the patient’s pain. Nancy is an addictions counselor and has used art therapy to help people in recovery from addictions. She was voted #1 acrylic artist in our region in 2010 and now teaches workshops at the Wallkill River School of Art in Montgomery.

And last, but not least, our Youth with Exceptional Promise Award is being given to Carly Ryan, a senior at Middletown High School. Carly has a passion for many different types of art. As the daughter of a photographer, she has developed an eye for photography and often volunteers to take pictures for the yearbook, as well as high school football games. She is also a gifted painter and painted part of the set for Middletown High School’s musical production of Sweeney Todd. Carly also began a small business called Tie by Carly and creates one-of-a-kind tie-dye t-shirts. She now has several of her shirts on consignment at two local stores and one craft store in PA. Carly has also used this talent for charity, selling her t-shirts to raise money for local non-profits.

All are invited to celebrate and honor these individuals at this very unique and fun annual event. Tickets may be purchased by calling the Art Council offices at 845-469-9168 or by e-mailing

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