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Arts Services Initiative of WNY announces 5th annual Spark Awards winners & finalists

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Wed, Mar 28th 2018 06:20 pm
Event 'Celebrating Those Who Ignite Arts & Culture' May 16 at Hotel Henry
Arts Services Initiative of Western New York has announced details of its fifth annual Spark Awards Presented by M&T Bank. The awards party, "Celebrating Those Who Ignite Arts & Culture," will take place from 6-9 p.m. Wednesday May 16, at the Hotel Henry located at the Richardson Olmsted Complex. WKBW-TV Channel 7's Mike Randall will serve as MC for the evening. The event will feature the awards, live performances and live art creation, open bar, and food.
Tickets are $100, with sponsorships and program book ads also available at www.asiwny.org. A limited number of free tickets are available through ASI's Arts Access program by calling 716-362-8389, ext. 514.
Following more than 80 nominations from the field, a panel of arts representatives from throughout Western New York selected the 2018 winners. They are:
•Arts Integration - Learning Disabilities Association of WNY (Starlight Studio & Art Gallery)
•DEC Program of the Year - Lockport Public Arts Council (Sweet Chalk Festival)
•Legacy Award - Robert G. Wilmers - chairman and CEO, M&T Bank
•Lifetime Achievement - Thomas Burrows - executive director, UB Center for the Arts (Retired)
•Rising Star - Buffalo String Works
•Supporter of the Cultural Sector - John and Carolyn Yurtchuk
•Trailblazer of the Arts - Michael J. Beam
•Unsung Hero - Friends of the Japanese Garden
The panel also selected finalists in the following categories, with the winners to be announced at the event:
Artist of the Year Finalists:
  • Fotini Galanes
  • Keith Harrington
  • Gary Earl Ross
Arts Organization of the Year Finalists:
  • Buffalo Arts Studio
  • Niagara Falls National Heritage Area
  • Resource: Art
"Every year we are amazed by the number of nominations and all the wonderful artistic work being done in our community," ASI Interim Executive Director Jen Swan said. "ASI wants to highlight all the hard work and commitment of the people working in the arts, and we want to honor the organizations, artists and supporters at this fun awards party!"
Proceeds of the Spark Awards will benefit ASI's services and resources to artists and the nonprofit WNY arts community. ASI services include: professional development workshops, funding opportunities, collaboration and promotion. The funds from the Spark Awards will also support ASI's efforts to make the arts accessible to the community through its public programming.

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