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March 14, 2011

VAPA faculty honored with major awards at ArtWorks 2011

The University of Louisiana at Monroe Division of Performing Arts shined during ArtsWorks 2011 on Thursday, Feb. 24, as two of faculty members were selected for major honors.

The Service to the Arts Award was presented to ULM's Director of Choral Music, Dr. Deborah Chandler, whose nomination read that she "believes that sharing or enjoying some area of the arts keeps everyone of us human and connected."

During the ceremony, it was noted that Chandler transformed the face of choral music in Northeast Louisiana through her exceptional talents in the varied aspects of the regional community.

Others noted that Chandler doesn't just "conduct her ensembles, choirs, choruses and orchestras, but that she also teaches and inspires them individually and as united entities to use their talents in such a way that each performance is truly a whole greater than the sum of its parts."

At the request of the Arts Awards Selection Panel, this award is only to be given at the panel's discretion, and has been awarded only three times since its inception.

It is presented to a nominee who merits distinction because of the exemplary nature of their sense of community, dedication, enthusiasm, leadership, loyalty, pride, service and tenacity.

The award, which is an Irish crystal bowl of octagonal design, is symbolic of these eight principles.

The Mary Lee Milam Award was presented to ULM Division of Art faculty member, Brian Fassett, who was honored for his contributions to the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council that have impacted the cultural organizations in Region 8 since 1997.

In 1997, Fassett volunteered as graphic artist for the Arts Council's new magazine, "Art in Action," which became the voice of the arts in 11 northeast Louisiana parishes, covering the activities of arts organizations and the artists that create the arts.

The recipient of numerous Addy Awards, the magazine has become the envy of the other arts council's in the state because of the professionalism through which it was produced.

In 1999, Fassett started selecting talented graphic art students to produce the issues that would then become part of their professional portfolios and resume entries.

In 2007, he became the Arts Council's volunteer webmaster, redesigning the Web site to include the CenturyLink interactive homepage and IberiaBank Cultural Calendar. Updating the site on a weekly and sometimes daily basis, Fassett provided greater access to our cultural organizations to reach even greater numbers of residents.

"When one looks at the four selection criteria, there is no doubt that he goes far beyond what is expected of any one individual," read the nomination. "Brian truly is a 'volunteer's volunteer' and we at the Arts Council salute and honor him."

Established in 1992, the Mary Lee Milam Award is the only award whose recipient is chosen exclusively by the Arts Council's Board of Directors.

Recipients of the award must have actively displayed enthusiasm, leadership, initiative and dedication from which the arts organizations and cultural community in Region 8 have obviously benefitted.

The Mary Lee Milam Award is given only when an individual or organization has performed service of such value that it has had a dynamic impact on the cultural face of the regional community.

Past recipients include Frances Guthrie, Frances Adcock, Chris Ringham, Sarah Johnson, June Strausser, Bill Street, Naomi Cordill, Tommy Usrey, Timmie Ray Thames, Linda Ford, Jamie Pettway, Maré Brennan and the only two organizations to receive the honor, the University of Louisiana at Monroe and KEDM.

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