ELKO – Theater arts, education and businesses synonymous with the local art scene were recognized at the third annual Mayor’s Arts Awards presented Tuesday at City Hall.
Receiving the honors were Sandy Beeler as Individual Artist; Patty Fox for Art Education; Duncan Littlecreek Gallery for Arts Organization; and Elko Broadcasting Co. for Service to the Arts. The awards were presented by Mayor Chris Johnson and the City of Elko Arts and Cultural Advisory Board.
Johnson gave each honoree a Nevada desert bighorn sheep sculpture made with found materials by artist Barry Crawford.
Beeler, an on-air personality with Ruby Radio, was recognized for her work as an “actress, director, painter, film producer and radio personality,” Johnson said, noting that she is known for her improvisation skills and for serving as a master of ceremonies at annual events.
She also sits on the board of directors for Ghost Light Productions and has participated in more than 20 productions by Ghost Light, Silver Stage Players and Great Basin College, recently directing for Play Festival.
Beeler received the sculpture with her son by her side and said she was happy the Mayor’s Arts Awards honored the performance arts and other non-traditional forms of art, thanking them for the honor.
“Thank you for recognizing performance art as an art, which in its right has its own kind of power,” Beeler said. She later praised the Arts and Cultural Board for being open to accepting all forms of art in their selection process.
“It’s fun to see different art forms recognized,” Beeler said.
For more than 40 years, Fox has taught art in Elko schools, teaching at GBC for more than 20 years. Before retiring this year, Fox developed a permanent collection of previous art instructors at GBC that is currently on exhibit at the Leonard Student Center.
“She is also a full-time artist, working mostly in watercolor, but said she likes to dabble in all mediums,” Johnson said, adding that her award-winning work is part of permanent collections of many museums and galleries.
“I’m really privileged and honored to be chosen for the Art Education award,” Fox said, thanking the board for the honor. “It has been my life and my focus in Elko for many years. It’s been very rewarding. I think I’ve taught most everybody in Elko County how to draw.”
After the presentation, Fox reflected on the relationships the honorees had with each other after living in the community for many years.
“I think it’s a great group that we have together. We’ve all kind of grown up together and it’s fun to see that we’re all being represented here today, so that’s fun for me,” Fox said.
The award for Arts Organization was presented to Duncan Littlecreek Gallery owners Jacques Errecart, Jennifer Anderson and Joan Anderson for their support of art, music, theater, poetry and storytelling based out of their downtown location.
In addition to exhibiting contemporary artwork by local and out-of-town artists, the DLC hosts weekly live music acts and theater productions including Poe and Pints and Bard in the Yard, Johnson said.
“If you’re looking for art in the atmosphere of downtown Elko, the Duncan Littlecreek Gallery and Wine Bar is a sure bet,” Johnson said in his introduction.
“During the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, their open mic night is one of the most popular in town with poets and storytellers.”
The three owners are also involved in art-related organizations including the Elko Parks Foundation, Johnson said, noting that Joan Anderson served on the Arts and Cultural Advisory Board from 2008 to 2016.
Errecart credited his partners for the award, saying they each had the same goal of creating a place for artists in Elko.
“I always tell people that the Duncan Littlecreek is actually kind of a confluence of three very distinct personalities, but we all share a common vision and that is we just want to elevate the value of art in this community,” Errecart said.
“To be recognized for following our vision is quite an honor. Thank you.”
Joan Anderson said after the ceremony the award was meaningful for the years of effort they’ve put into making the DLC a venue for artists in the Elko area.
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“We feel really honored to be chosen for the organization,” Anderson said. “We’ve been working hard for a lot of years to bring more art culture to Elko. We’re really grateful getting this.”
The Service to the Arts award was given to Elko Broadcasting Co. for featuring artists and promoting art-based organizations in the community through radio stations KELK and KLKO.
“They give artists and art organizations valuable airtime, entire shows and news features, not just public service announcements,” Johnson said, listing several events including the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, National Basque Festival, Elko County Fair, the Silver State Stampede and Art in the Park.
“Elko Broadcasting will always give airtime to any of our local art and cultural institutions, as well as including the California Trail Center, the Western Folklife Center, the Northeastern Nevada Museum, the Elko County Art Club, the Lamoille Women’s Club and many, many others,” Johnson said.
Paul Gardner accepted the award with on-air personality Lori Gilbert, explaining to the audience that the company “[doesn’t] do things as much as our employees do things. Lori Gilbert has been at the forefront of our microphones and service to our community for a long, long time.”
“We do well by doing good and if we can do good for our community we’ll continue to do well for ourselves,” Gardner said. “Thank you very, very much.”
D. Ray Gardner, who with his wife Ginger Gardner purchased Elko Broadcasting in 1972, was also in attendance, along with Paul’s wife Ketra.
Gilbert said after ceremony that she was “happy to represent a family-owned radio station” and being part of a community radio station that “represents [and] reflects our community through our news and our programming, especially arts and culture.”
Catherine Wines, chairwoman for the Arts and Culture Advisory Board, said this year’s recipients joined “a nice list of the art leaders in the community.”
“We’re just thrilled with everybody. Everybody was so deserving and it’s really becoming a prestigious list.”
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