Last updated on April 21, 2014 at 1:20 EDT

PA Governor and First Lady Honor Governor’s Awards for the Arts Winners

September 20, 2012

ERIE, Pa., Sept. 20, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Governor Tom Corbett and First Lady Susan Corbett tonight recognized the recipients of the 2012 Governor’s Awards for the Arts. The ceremony honored outstanding Pennsylvania artists, arts organizations and patrons who have made significant contributions to the advancement of the arts.

“It is a great honor for us to recognize the genius and generosity of spirit embodied in this year’s recipients,” said Governor Corbett. “Each of them has made a significant impact on the arts and in their own communities.”

The awards are a tradition spanning 32 years in Pennsylvania and are administered by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Each year they take place in a different location within the commonwealth. Tonight’s event at the Warner Theatre marks the first time the event has been held in Erie.

Tonight’s awards were presented to the following people:

  • Peter Q. Bohlin, Waverly – Distinguished Arts Award: Architect and recipient of the American Institute of Architects’ Gold Medal;
  • Susan and Tom Hagen, Erie – Patron Award: Philanthropists;
  • Bruce Katsiff, Doylestown – Arts Leadership and Service Award: Longtime director and CEO of the James A. Michener Art Museum in Bucks County;
  • Jane Golden and the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, Philadelphia – Arts Innovation Award: Golden heads the largest public art program in the nation;
  • Susan Hale Kemenyffy, Erie – 2012 Artist of the Year: Internationally renowned artist in multiple media and state and regional arts leader.

“Each Pennsylvanian being recognized tonight is more than deserving to receive this prestigious honor,” said First Lady Susan Corbett. “Their contributions to the arts have added beauty to our world, and they have shown, in their own unique ways, why the arts are so important to our everyday lives.”

Mrs. Corbett is the chair of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, or PCA. During the awards ceremony, PCA was honored by the National Endowment for the Arts with the National Accessibility Leadership Award. The award recognizes the PCA’s work to make the arts more accessible to those with disabilities. Tonight’s ceremony included open captioning for the hearing impaired and audio descriptions for the visually impaired.

For more information, visit www.pa.gov.

Media contact: Kirsten Page, 717-783-1116

Editors Note: The biographies for each award recipient are listed below:

Distinguished Arts Award
Peter Q. Bohlin, FAIA

Peter Q. Bohlin, a fellow of the American Institute of Architects, or AIA, is a founding principal of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson and has been instrumental in establishing the firm’s consistent record of design achievement.

Founded in 1965, with offices in Wilkes-Barre, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Seattle and San Francisco, the firm’s work is known for an extraordinary aesthetic, its responsiveness to particularity of place and user, and a quiet rigor that is both intellectual and intuitive.

Bohlin’s award-winning civic, university, corporate and residential projects span the United States and around the globe. He is AIAs’ 2010 Gold Medal award winner, the Institute’s highest honor.

In 1994, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson received the Architecture Firm Award, the AIA’s highest honor recognizing an architectural practice; they are the recipient of nine national honor awards from the AIA and more than 500 regional, national and international design awards.

Bohlin’s leadership and inspiration have established a culture of thoughtful, thorough design thinking throughout the practice, and he remains keenly interested in both broad conceptual thinking and detailed expression.

Patron Award
Susan and Tom Hagen

Tom and Susan Hagen have generously supported arts, culture and a variety of other organizations in the Erie community for more than four decades.

The Hagens have been regular and generous supporters of the Erie Playhouse, the Inner-City Neighborhood Art House, Young People’s Chorus of Erie, local dance companies and a host of other arts and cultural organizations, as well as the annual United Arts Fund drives. They have been associated with the Erie Philharmonic and both served on its board of directors.

Their support of the Erie Art Museum is recognized in the Hagen Family Gallery. They have also assured that Erie Insurance, for which Tom serves as chairman of the board, has been an outstanding corporate citizen by supporting the arts in many ways.

Tom has also overseen the creation of a corporate campus that is sensitively integrated into its downtown neighborhood, preserving and incorporating some of the city’s most architecturally significant and historic buildings.

Both Susan and Tom have demonstrated cultural leadership through extensive board service in addition to their philanthropy. Tom Hagen is chairman of the board of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, and co-founder and first chairman of Team Pennsylvania Foundation. Their numerous awards and honors include Susan Hagen’s 2010 Distinguished Citizen of the Commonwealth Award from the Pennsylvania Society as well as the Erie Community Foundation’s 2009 Edward C. Doll Award.

Arts Leadership and Service Award
Bruce Katsiff

For more than two decades, Bruce Katsiff of Doylestown was the director and CEO of the James A. Michener Art Museum where he developed the once-modest art center into a robust arts institution with an unparalleled collection of acclaimed regional artists.

Under Katsiff’s stewardship, the collection grew to more than 2,500 works. The original building, a former county jail, was expanded to more than 63,000 square feet of space for exhibitions, education, events, conferences and state-of-the-art preparation areas and collection storage spaces.

More than 120,000 people now come to see 15 rotating exhibits a year. The son of a Philadelphia butcher and a seamstress, Katsiff was introduced to photography at Central High, working in the darkroom for the student newspaper. He had his first exhibit at age 17 in a local Philadelphia coffee house. He entered the pre-law program at Penn State University, but soon left to pursue a career in photography, studying at the Rochester Institute of Technology, the Pratt Institute and Oxford University.

One of his photographs was included in a 1968 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art. He exhibited internationally, then went on to a distinguished academic career as the chair of the art and music department at Bucks County Community College.

As director and CEO of the James A. Michener Museum, Katsiff encountered notable past recipients of the Governor’s Awards for the Arts. He had the opportunity to work with museum namesake and bestselling author, James Michener, in the early days of his tenure.

Then in 1999, Marguerite and H. F. “Gerry” Lenfest donated 59 paintings and a $3 million endowment, making the museum the primary repository for Pennsylvania Impressionist art. Museum and community leaders credit Katsiff with the museum’s success “beyond the most ambitious dreams of its founders” and for a lasting legacy for the people of Bucks County and the commonwealth.

Arts Innovation Award
Jane Golden and the Mural Arts Program of the City of Philadelphia

The 2012 Arts Innovation Award winner is the Mural Arts Program of the City of Philadelphia and its executive director Jane Golden. For more than 28 years, the program has had a dramatic impact on the people and neighborhoods of Philadelphia, engaging them in the creation of murals and other public artworks that help revitalize urban neighborhoods and commercial corridors.

The program began in the 1980s as a way to redirect young people from making graffiti to painting murals. The Mural Arts Program has built its success on the belief that public art holds the power to educate and inspire disadvantaged youth, transform neglected neighborhoods, spur community and economic development, and address critical issues that plague the city.

Art is used as a catalyst to ignite change in the lives of all its constituents. In recent years, the program has provided free year-round arts education programs to more than 1,800 youth annually at sites throughout Philadelphia.

One-hundred percent of high school seniors in the Mural Corps art education program graduated from high school in 2011. The Mural Arts Program acts upon its belief that public art brings life to Philadelphia and that the city’s public art belongs to all.

Over the past several years, the Mural Arts Program has earned Philadelphia an ever-growing reputation as the mural capital of the world. Jane Golden has been a driving force behind that growth, as the program became the nation’s largest mural program. Golden is sought after nationally and internationally as an expert in urban transformation through art. She has also received numerous awards, honorary degrees, and recognition as a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania.

Artist of the Year
Susan Hale Kemenyffy

Susan Hale Kemenyffy is a renowned artist whose creative gifts are evidenced in every aspect of her life. Her work spans more than four decades and multiple media.

As an artist, she produces work installed, exhibited and sold internationally – ranging from pen and ink drawings, large and small-scale ceramics, landscape projects and gardens, to textiles, using a variety of materials including fabric and linoleum.

As a lecturer and essayist, Kemenyffy shares her knowledge and experience of multiple arts media along with her philosophy on the influence of art in settings, from public lectures to her website and publications.

For many years, she collaborated with her husband and artistic partner, Steven Kemenyffy, to produce their well-known ceramic works combining her painting and drawing talent with his capacity for clay and sculpture. She continually explores and develops expertise in new areas of artistic expression and skill.

A tireless community volunteer, she advocates for support for the arts and generously gives her time, talent and her art work to advance the availability of art in traditional and non-traditional settings. Among her public installations in Erie are the garden at the Inner-City Neighborhood Art House and the multiple media installation at Harding Elementary School.

Governor Tom Ridge, one of her nominators for this award, named her chair of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts in 1996. He described his confidence in her ability to bring “a passionate infusion of energy, innovation and support to the Council’s mission” and her attention to the needs and desires of smaller communities and programs.

Kemenyffy has exhibited internationally, and her works are in numerous public and private collections, including The Carnegie Museum of Art, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Smithsonian Institution, the Cincinnati Art Museum and the International Ceramic Museum in Hungary.

SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor

Source: PR Newswire