West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture & History

State legislative leadership award winners announced at Governor’s Arts Awards


Ten members of the West Virginia Legislature will receive Legislative Leadership awards for their significant accomplishments in the arts at the Governor’s Arts Awards gala on Thursday, March 8, (tonight) at the Culture Center, State Capitol Complex in Charleston. The event will be hosted by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History and the West Virginia Commission on the Arts.

Del. Mary M. Poling, D-Barbour, and Sen. John R. Unger II, D-Berkeley, will be presented with Arts in Education awards. Poling, chair of the House Education Committee and a former teacher , is recognized for the vital role she plays in arts education programs in the entire state including the VH1 Save The Music Foundation program; Unger, who serves on the Senate Education Committee, has supported numerous arts organizations including the Berkeley Arts Council, Contemporary American Theater Festival and the Fine Arts program at Shepherd University.

Sen. Evan H. Jenkins, D-Cabell, and Del. Ruth Rowan, R-Hampshire, will receive Community Arts awards. Jenkins has made significant contributions to many projects in his district including the renovation of the historic Keith Albee theater, and assisted the Huntington Museum of Art, The Marshall Artists Series and the Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center at Marshall University; Rowan is recognized for her contributions to the arts in her community of Romney as well as across the entire state, including her support of the Coca-Cola Bottling Plant and Museum and the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind.

The Cultural Facilities awards will be presented to Del. Bob Ashley, R-Roane, and Sen. Jack Yost, D-Brooke. Ashley is recognized for his commitment to preserving our cultural structures in West Virginia like the Roby Theater in Spencer, home of the Black Walnut Festival, and support for Jeff Fetty, the 2012 Governor’s Arts Award artist; Yost for his support for the renovation and restoration of the Capital Music Hall and West Virginia Independence Hall in Wheeling, as well as his role in the VH1 Save The Music Foundation’s presence in the Northern Panhandle.

Sen. Karen L. Facemyer, R-Jackson, and Del. Meshea L. Poore, D-Kanawha, will receive Folk Arts awards. Facemyer supports the cultural traditions of the state with her involvement on projects like the Arts and Crafts Fair at Cedar Lakes, the annual Vandalia Gathering at the Capitol Complex, the National Symphony Orchestra Tour in West Virginia in 2010, and the VH1 Save The Music Foundation program; Poore for her active support of FestivALL Charleston, the Charleston Light Opera Guild, the Vandalia Gathering and public art projects on the east and west sides of Charleston.

The Lifetime Achievement awards will go to Sen. Jeffrey Kessler, D-Marshall, and Del. Charlene Marshall, D-Monongalia. Kessler has supported significant arts organizations including Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex in Moundsville, Marble King and the Wheeling Symphony; Marshall is honored for her public service work while serving on a variety of boards such as the Morgantown Theater Company and the West Virginia Human Rights Commission as well as support for the Met Theater in Morgantown and the Creative Arts Center at West Virginia University.

Other awards to be presented at the Governor’s Arts Awards gala include the Distinguished Service to the Arts Award to The Marshall Artists Series of Marshall University and Huntington and Grant Cooper, artistic director and conductor of the West Virginia Symphony in Charleston; Artist of the Year Award to Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr. of Logan; Arts in Education awards to the Fine Arts Academy of Cabell Midland High School in Huntington and the School of Harmony in Beaver; the Leadership in the Arts awards to Chesapeake Energy with regional corporate offices in Charleston; and the Contemporary American Theater Festival at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown; and the Governor’s Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement to Vernon Howell of Barboursville.

For more information about the Legislative Leadership in the Arts awards, contact Jeff Pierson, director of arts for the Division, at (304) 558-0220.

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History is an agency within the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts with Kay Goodwin, Cabinet Secretary. The Division, led by Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, brings together the past, present and future through programs and services focusing on archives and history, arts, historic preservation and museums. For more information about the Division’s programs, events and sites, visit www.wvculture.org. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

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