The Cultural Council is pleased to announce the 22nd Annual Laurel Award Celebration, to be held May 16, 2018 at Riverside Theatre.  Nominations by members of the Cultural Council are now open for the Richard A. Stark Award for Cultural Leadership, the Alma Lee Loy Award for Volunteer Leadership, the John J. Schumann, Jr. Award for Business Leadership, and the Willie C. Reagan Award for Educational Leadership.  The deadline for nominations is 5:00 Monday, March 5, 2018.  We encourage you to participate in recognizing those who do so much for the arts.   Nomination forms may be obtained from the Cultural Council office or CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE FORMS  Winners will be announced April 2, 2018.

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2017 Awards will be held at Riverside Theatre on May 18, 2017

Over the past 20 years, the Cultural Council has promoted the cultural arts through education, collaboration, marketing, programming and advocacy. During this time the Cultural Council created the Laurel Awards to recognize leadership in the cultural arts.

Cultural Council Celebrates 20 Years of The Laurel Awards

Master of Ceremonies to be WPTV News Channel 5 Anchor

Since 1996, The Cultural Council of Indian River County has been recognizing individuals in the community who have strived to demonstrate support of the arts in a variety of means. To that end, an annual event has been held inviting those who have been nominated and later selected to receive this honor, in a wide array of categories that have included cultural leadership roles in business, education, philanthropy and volunteerism, as well as an award that recognized a local artist of their field who earned the respect of the community and their peers for their dedication to their art.

Barbara Hoffman, the Executive Director of the Cultural Council, along with a small appointed committee (at left), unanimously decided to celebrate the 20 years of this esteemed award by holding a special reunion of the first 94 Laurel Award winners.  This celebration will be held at Riverside Theatre on Thursday, May 18 at 6 p.m.  The evening opens with a lovely reception in the theatre’s lobby turned into an art gallery by members of the Cultural Council with over 50 multi-media displays; performances on the Stark Stage by members of the Cultural Council, and the announcement and introduction of previous award winners and community supporters of the arts. A buffet of heavy hors d’eouvres by Chelsea’s, dessert and a champagne toast, along with a full (cash) bar, will be offered. Master of Ceremonies will be Jon Shainman, Anchor/Multi-Media Journalist-WPTV News Channel 5. An array of performing arts that include acts from Vero Beach High School and Indian River Charter High Schools, Riverside Children’s Theatre and The Vero Beach Theatre Guild as well as the Fort Pierce Jazz & Blues Society, Laura Riding Jackson Foundation and Jacob Craig will highlight the Stark Stage performances.

In addition to Ms. Hoffman, the organizational committee includes Alicia Quinn, Joan and Roman Ortega-Cowan, Bev and Marty Paris, Oscar Sales, Matt Stott and Mark Wygonik. Sponsors for the event include Riverside Theatre, Bill and Nancy Bryant, Leonar Lobo De Gonzales, Robert and Sandy Brackett and Keith Kite.

Cost for the evening is $75 per person; reservations are being taken by May 10.  To make your reservation or to request an invitation, please contact the Cultural Council office at 772-770-4857.

Image: Some members of the committee gather at Riverside Theatre for a planning meeting.  Left to right- Beverly Paris, Mark Wygonik and Alicia Quinn (all seated).  Standing are Barbara Hoffman and Oscar Sales.



Richard A. Stark Award for Cultural Leadership awarded to an individual who demonstrates exceptional leadership in promoting the cultural arts, and in providing encouragement, involvement, and motivation to others in support of the cultural arts.

Alma Lee Loy Award for Volunteer Leadership awarded to an outstanding individual who, as a volunteer, demonstrates selfless dedication to the cultural arts, and devoted energy, passion, time and support of a nonprofit cultural organization.

Willie C. Reagan Award for Educational Leadership awarded to an arts educator to honor, recognize, celebrate, and advocate arts education for all whose talent and leadership keeps the arts alive for people of all ages.

John J. Schumann, Jr. Award for Business Leadership awarded to an individual or business who demonstrates outstanding commitment to a nonprofit cultural organization(s) in support of their operations, enabling growth and sustainability.



New Laurel Award categories were created in 2013:

Richard A. Stark Award for Cultural Leadership

Maestro Aaron Collins (2016)
Maestro Stewart Robinson (2015) Mark P. Wygonik (2014)
Jon Moses (2013)

Alma Lee Loy Award for Volunteer Leadership

Dr. Carole Strauss (2016)
Anita Astrachan (2015)
Susan and Ed Smith (2014)
Donald Croteau and Susan Grandpierre (2013)

Willie C. Reagan Award for Educational Leadership (created in 2015)

lLis Bech (2016)
Bridget Lyons (2015)

John Schumann Award for Business Leadership

Jim Davis, Treasure & Space Coast Radio (2016)
White Glove Moving, Storage & Delivery, Pak Mail Beachside, President Phil DeLange (2015)
Beth Moulton, Publisher, Vero Beach Magazine (2014)
Springhill Suites by Marriott, Keith Kite (2013)

Recipients 1996 - 2011

Philanthropic/Business Leadership An individual or business group providing consistent generous financial support of Indian River County’s cultural community or Outstanding monetary contributions to one or more cultural organizations, facilitating operations, enabling growth or providing for its future.
Past recipients include:
Dr. Ben Emerson, Jafar Falasiri/Falasiri Oriental Rugs; Bev & Marty Paris/Paris Productions; Kevin Grady/ PNC Wealth Management; Karl Steene/Indian River National Bank, Tom & Rhonda Lowe/Rock City Gardens, Nancy and Peter Benedict, John Schumann, Robert Bauchman/Northern Trust; Betty Abbott, Richard and Helen Post, Jack & Anne Morton, Carolyn K. Eggert, Eleonora McCabe, John Moore, Danforth Richardson.

Volunteer/Activist Leadership: An individual who has devoted energy, passion, time and support to a CAC member organization with no compensation, and whose selfless dedication should be recognized
Past recipients include: Al Smith, Cathie Callery; Crystal Bujol; Suzan Phillips, Toni Hamner, Harriet Yemm, Joyce Levi, Charlotte Terry, Raz Allen and Trish Bridwell, Keith Pelan, Janetta MacPhail and Penny Odiorne; Millie Bunnell, Henry “Pop” Seeley, Barbara Ferrell, Laurie Kaneb, Leonor L. Gonzalez

Cultural/Professional Leadership: An individual employee of a CAC member organization, in either artistic or administrative position, whose outstanding performance and commitment to their organization and the cultural community deserves special recognition.
Past recipients include: Matthew V. Stott, Warren Obluck; Joe Ellis; Mary Schenkel, Pamela Cooper, Willi Miller, Gary Miller, Chuck Still, Kelley Coppage, Janet Alford, Andrew McMullen, Ron Brockway, Allen D. Cornell, Holly Dill, Ray Adams, Ken Macht

Carolyn K. Eggert Award: An individual or individuals who have made long-term, noteworthy contributions of both money and time to the wider cultural community. Not awarded every year, only at the discretion of the selection committee.
Past recipients include: Joan and Roman Ortega-Cowan; Robert Gibb; Bob & Sandy Brackett; Lori Burns, Bill and Nancy Bryant, Richard and Barbara Stark, Harry W. Walker, Edgar W. Holtz, W. Kent Barclay, Nancy Elizabeth Reed, Alma Lee Loy, George & Jean Armstrong, Linda Downey.

Artist Award: Inaugurated in 2008, this award recognizes a creative artist who is a legal resident of Indian River County. This award is intended to recognize artists who have earned the respect of the community and their peers, for their dedication to their art and to their commitment to making art in Indian River County. Fields of creativity include, but are not limited to: writer, poet, illustrator, graphic artist, fine artist, architect, video artist, performance artist, actor, playwright, musician, composer, choreographer, dancer.
Past Recipients Include: Sharon Morgan, Del & Jean Petersen; Marlene Putnam; Jean Nagy was the first recipient of this award in 2008