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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

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3/11/2012 9:56:00 PM
Buckey Awards celebrates best, brightest of Prescott arts scene
Matt Hinshaw/The Daily CourierMaster of Ceremonies Andrew Johnson-Schmit performs with members of the Switch Academy of Performing Arts to open up the 2nd Annual Buckey Awards Saturday night in Prescott.
Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier
Master of Ceremonies Andrew Johnson-Schmit performs with members of the Switch Academy of Performing Arts to open up the 2nd Annual Buckey Awards Saturday night in Prescott.
Matt Hinshaw/The Daily CourierPresenter Toni Kaus, the Prescott Library Director, awards Tiffany Antone with the Outstanding Literary Artist medal during the 2nd Annual Buckey Awards for Excellence in the Arts Saturday night at the Elks Opera House in Prescott.
Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier
Presenter Toni Kaus, the Prescott Library Director, awards Tiffany Antone with the Outstanding Literary Artist medal during the 2nd Annual Buckey Awards for Excellence in the Arts Saturday night at the Elks Opera House in Prescott.
Nicholas DeMarino
The Daily Courier

PRESCOTT - Saturday evening at the Elks Opera House, patrons of the second annual Buckey Awards sported a mélange of denims, silks and poly-blends.

Only one man, Master of Ceremonies Andrew Johnson-Schmit, sported a leopard-print fez.

"Sometimes we get too involved with trying to pull people our direction, or they're trying to pull us their direction, and there's politics," Johnson-Schmit said late in the show. "In the end, arts and the community - it's a very positive thing, and that's what this night is about."

The show opened, intermission-ed and closed with house band Tumbledown House's signature "roadhouse jazz." Other entertainment included dancers from Prescott's Switch Academy of Performing Arts alongside the comedic galumphing of Johnson-Schmit.

There was also the immaculate comedic duo of "All A. Quickwit, CPA," and "Kermit Frog, CPA," the "Certifiable Public Accountants of Cook, Books and Hyde," who assured the audience voting tabulation was sufficiently, um, convoluted.

Buckey finalists were introduced at length, often by last year's recipient, before winners were announced in each category, spurring extra hoots and hollers between envelope crinkles.

Visit the Buckey Award's YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/user/BuckeyAwards, to watch the event and interviews with this year's winners.

Outstanding Visual Artist

Ian Russell presented Outstanding Visual Artist finalists Paul Abbott, the team of Roger Asay and Rebecca Davis, Rick Hartner, Charles Huckeba and Brooke Stevens-Patrick.

Here's part of the winner's introduction:

"He's one of those artist [who], when you first see his work, you go, 'Man, I've got to quit painting. I hate him,'" Russell said, adding, "He paints the figure in a way that nobody else can. He evokes emotion, sensuality and [brings] a true dignity to the art form."

That's Abbott, whose primary medium is oil painting.

"Well, I thought of funny things to say before I got here, and I forgot every one of them, so I just want to say thank you to everybody," Abbott began, further thanking his students and supporters.

Outstanding Literary Artist

Toni Kaus presented Outstanding Literary Artist finalists Parker Anderson, Tiffany Antone, Steven Ayres, Karen Despain, and Michele McFadden, aka Micki Shelton.

Here's part of the winner's introduction:

"Although acting lured her to L.A. when she was 19, it was writing that took her breath away," Kaus said, adding she's "also the education director for the Prescott Center for the Arts and coordinator of their Young Playwrights Festival - a busy lady."

That's Antone, a Prescott native whose plays have garnered O'Neil and Jerome award nominations.

"This is very exciting. I'm just really happy to come back after having been away so long, after two years," Anton said. "I've been really welcomed here and [enjoyed] all of the exciting arts and the activities that we all slave over every year."

Outstanding Media Artist/Broadcaster

Monika Marrihia presented Outstanding Media Artist/Broadcaster finalists Tom Agostino, Bryan Matuskey, Sandy Moss, David Veatch and Bo Woods.

Here's part of the winner's introduction:

"Arts and entertainment is truly her passion," Marrihia said, "And she has written about and interviewed hundreds of local artists, musicians and art organizations in the past almost two decades."

That's Moss, former Daily Courier A&E editor and reporter, and current Arizona Hometown Radio Group broadcaster for radio stations KQNA, KPPV and KDDL.

"If, at my time at the newspaper and in broadcasting, I helped to promote the creators of the things that feed our soul, I'm really grateful and thrilled," Moss said, referencing a line from the movie "Mr. Holland's Opus."

Outstanding Arts Educator

Juanita Hull-Carlson presented Outstanding Arts Educator finalists Dan Bradstreet, Sister Anne Fitzsimons, Bruce Lanning and Jean Lutz.

Here's part of the winner's introduction:

"I watched him work and the way he interacted with the students - he's just a very groovy guy," Hull-Carlson said, "The kind of band instructor who changes people's lives."

That's Bradstreet, who's taught at Prescott High School since 1989 and leads marching bands, an orchestra and jazz ensembles.

"I'm afraid Dan is actually out teaching, right now," said Johnson Schmit, who announced Bradstreet was fielding band auditions and, thus, couldn't attend.

Outstanding Performing Artist

Katie Hodge Dean presented Outstanding Performing Artist finalists Jody Drake, Linda Miller, Cason Murphy, Delisa Myles and Marnie Uhl.

Here's part of the winner's introduction:

"Grateful to live among a creative, friendly and supportive community ... [she] directed last season's Arizona premier of 'The Dixie Swim Club,'" Dean said.

That's Miller, who's been associated with 50 productions or concerts locally since 1990.

"You hear a lot that it takes a village to do things in the arts," Miller said. "Well in community theatre it takes a community, and that's not just the patrons that come. ... It's the people that volunteer and that come out for these shows."

Outstanding Arts Activist

Elisabeth Ruffner presented Outstanding Arts Activist/Supporter finalists Ida Kendall, Jean Lutz, Jon Meyer, Jeri Smith-Fornara and Mike Vax.

Here's part of the winner's introduction:

"I've known ... (her) most of her life as an activist and a fiery advocate for environmental and social causes," Ruffner said, "And her generosity to the Elks Opera House Foundation has been a great boon for this theatre."

That's Jeri Smith-Fornara, whose list of accomplishments is long and distinguished.

"I want you to know that anything can happen if people give [to the arts] - if it's $5, it's $10," she said toward the end of an eight-minute speech about philanthropy. "We've had a couple foundations here in town, but they don't give like they should. We have people [who] are worth a great deal more, and they should give millions."

Outstanding Arts Organization

Jon Meyer presented Outstanding Arts Organization finalists the Elks Opera House Foundation, Prescott Center for the Arts, Prescott College Art Gallery at Sam Hill Warehouse, Prescott Film Festival and The@trics Theatre.

Here's part of the winner's introduction:

"The gallery strives to enhance our world community by exhibiting a variety of disciplines with a diversity of artists and an emphasis on the environment and social justice," Meyer said.

That's Sam Hill Warehouse. Although a representative wasn't present because of concurrent art hanging, Johnson-Schmit said a few words.

"Too often it seems like there's a division between Prescott College and the rest of the community," he said. "I, for one, am very happy to see this recognition."

Outstanding Arts Event

Cindy DeFiore presented Outstanding Arts Event finalists "The Miracle Worker" at Prescott Center for the Arts, Phippen Museum Western Art Show and Sale, Prescott Film Festival, Prescott Jazz Summit, "Sweeney Todd" at the Prescott Center for the Arts.

Here's part of the winner's introduction:

"Despite a summer monsoon at one of the Highlands Center concerts, 40 cars were turned away because of full capacity," DeFiore said, referencing the 11th annual incarnation of the event in 2011 and its monthly related concerts.

That's the Prescott Jazz Summit, which was represented by Mike Vax.

"I'm not sure what to say because jazz doesn't win too many things," Vax said, adding, "I'm so proud of the fact that we bring musicians literally from all over this country, but we're now bringing people from ... 18 different states."

Outstanding Musical Artist

Tres Ikner and Jen Juniper presented Outstanding Musical Artist finalists Anton Teschner and Drew Hall, Don Cheek and The CheekTones, Here Come Cowboys, Jonathan Best and Merry Musical Moms.

Here's part of the winner's introduction:

"They are, at this very moment, probably laying down some danceable grooves over at Coyote Joe's, as they do most weeks," Ikner said, further noting one member's contribution to local open mic nights and publications.

That's Don Cheek and The CheekTones, represented by Cheek's wife, Jane.

"You load the back of a truck every week with hundreds of pounds of equipment every Saturday - almost every Saturday - and he has the chance to do what he loves to do," she said. "This is amazing."

Lifetime Contribution to the Arts of Yavapai County

Jody Drake introduced the award winner for Lifetime Contribution to the Arts of Yavapai County.

"Tonight it is my honor to present this award to a man who's not only an accomplished artist and a tremendous contribution [maker] to Prescott, Arizona," Drake said, "But a man who continually gives back to this community in every way."

That's Bill Nebeker, an area native whose primary medium is bronze sculpture.

Nebeker spoke after a standing ovation.

"I don't know who they're talking about, really, but it's wonderful. I appreciate it very much because I love this town, dearly," Nebeker said, adding. "This is my hometown. It's also an absolutely fabulous art community, and I'm so happy to be able to be a part of it."

Related Links:
• Buckey's finest: Local arts awards show coming to Elks

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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, March 12, 2012
Article comment by: Liz Wilson

My opinion of the Buckey Awards is that "It's a start..." I 'm sure many people were as confused as I was about the categories. I have to agree that the Prescott Jazz Summit is an "Outstanding Arts Event" which draws Jazz fans from all over the world thanks to the perseverence of Mike Vax and his team. Sandy Moss is a "class act" in everything she does and well deserves her award.

The honor bestowed on Jeri Smith-Fornara is long past-due. I understand she spoke for about 8 minutes in favor of philanthropy and some people thought that was too long! I wonder if it was the length of her speech or the subject that made them uncomfortable!

Posted: Monday, March 12, 2012
Article comment by: Andrew Johnson-Schmit

Thanks for the great write-up, Nick. It was just an amazing night and I'm glad to read about it in the Daily Courier. If I could just throw in two things:

1. Outstanding Media Artist Honoree (and a fellow PNI alum) Sandy Moss can be heard on KQNA and KPPV.

2. The Outstanding Arts Event award presenter was Margo Christensen, who, besides being VP of Marketing at Ponderosa Hotel Management Services, is a an incredibly supportive figure in our local community. When Cindy DeFiore had to cancel at the last minute, Margo agreed to step in and handle the Arts Event promotion. And she did a fantastic job. I can't tell you what a blessing it is to have people like Margo to turn to. Just makes me very grateful.

As I am grateful too for the volunteers and performers and staff of the Elks Opera House for pulling off this glittering night of the arts. Thanks, everyone.

Posted: Monday, March 12, 2012
Article comment by: they all should be winners

All nominated should have won something -to be in compete with each other in such a small town is really not a good idea-it takes all of them to make this town what it is-to say one is better then another is wrong!

Posted: Monday, March 12, 2012
Article comment by: Long Time Local Resident

Finally, after helping start a Magazine over 30 years ago that is still flourishing Her film production co., having won an Emmy and two Peabody awards her sitting on major Boards for years and having given to all forms of Art here in Prescott as well as through out the Nation Jeri Smith -Fornara has been awarded something locally. AMAZING after all these years!
Many people are not aware as I am of, the generosity that this woman has shown to many individuals and groups in our hometown, county and other states. Jeri Congratulations

Posted: Monday, March 12, 2012
Article comment by: Steven Ayres

Kudos to Andrew Johnson-Schmidt for coming up with a fun idea, following through with a ton of work and creating an event that shines a light on the strength and diversity of our local arts community. Extra props for getting this much ink in the paper! Go, Andy!

Posted: Monday, March 12, 2012
Article comment by: Jean Lutz

Thank you to Jeri Smith-Fornara for challenging local foundations to give to the arts and other local efforts that strive to assist those less forntunate. We should all follow her example.

Posted: Monday, March 12, 2012
Article comment by: gerald Insley

Bill Nebeker was a student of mine in Prescott years ago.He was a quiet and well behaved kid who has followed his dream and reached perfection in his work. I don't get down there often, but my wife and I really appreciate his sculpture he captures reality and the true essence of those he portrays Congratulations Bill you deserve the recognition.
Jerry Insey - Ashland, Oregon

Posted: Monday, March 12, 2012
Article comment by: Arts Enthusiast

It was wonderful to attend the program and see recognition given to people deeply involved in the arts.

As a long Prescott resident, I was pleased to see the award given to Jeri Smith-Fornara. Jeri has been active in the arts since her Prescott High School days and has made possible local work in just about every art form. There were many years when she commuted back and forth from New York and California to Prescott, where she always maintained her home. I enjoyed her remarks at the ceremony noting the richness that the arts give to a community, especially to children, and calling on others to help as she had. She also is active on behalf of local programs helping the poor and hungry. She does good works rather than giving lip service to them.

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