Ruth and James Ewing Art Award Announced | Elf

Sixteen Ruth and James Ewing Arts Award winners were announced by the judges this week, including three Lifetime Achievement Awards given to a local author and two well-known musicians.

Nationally acclaimed and critically acclaimed novelist Ernie Hebert; Lenny Matczynski, renowned master teacher and director of the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music; and Walter Sayre, a tireless contributor to numerous regional and professional musical productions, have all been recognized for their decades of dedication to their art.

The judges considered more than 70 nominations before deciding on the 16 winners. Jessica Gelter, Executive Director of Arts Alive! and one of the judges, commented on the wide field of nominees.

“This year, we are celebrating the leaders, visionaries and people living among us who are transforming the arts locally and across our country and the world,” said Gelter. “Art doesn’t need to be held within the four walls of a museum or on a formal stage – the work of these artists leaps out of formal contexts and grabs you …

“These artists demonstrate what it is to be motivated and to love the process of creating art, music, stories, theater and dance. I’m so proud of our list this year, ”she said.

The Sentinel Keene and Arts Alive! partner on the annual awards, which, in its seventh year, will be presented on July 28 at The Showroom, the Colonial Theater’s new small performance center in Keene. The winners and their guests will be able to attend the event; others can watch the presentations broadcast live on The Sentinel’s website,, or on The Sentinel’s Facebook page. The event will take place from 6.30 p.m. and is free to the public.

The other winners and their categories were:

Visual Arts: Wendy Klemperer, Nelson’s Nationally Recognized Metal Sculptor

Literary Arts: The Peterborough Poetry Project

Interdisciplinary arts (using multiple media): Laina Barakat, freelance filmmaker from Marlborough

Folk and Traditional Arts: John Hughes, composer, sculptor, musician and dancer from Brattleboro; and Craig Altobello, fine marquetry cabinetmaker from Peterborough

Student artist: Jayna Leach, Keene dancer and songwriter and student at the Boston Conservatory in Berklee

Performing Arts: Cailin Marcel Manson, Classical and Lyrical Soloist and Music Director, Keene Chorale; and Al Brogdon, Dixieland Jazz musician, from Fitzwilliam

Arts Presenter: Benjamin Robinson and Raylynmor Opera Company of Jaffrey; and Andy’s Summer Playhouse of Wilton

Excellence in Community Engagement: Ann Putnam, Visual Artist and Wilton Mailbox; and Theater Adventure, an inclusive theater group from West Brattleboro

Advocate of the Arts: Randy Miller, Folk Artist and Musician from East Alstead

The judges who made the selections were Gelter and previous Ewing Arts Award winners Craig Stockwell and Maureen Ahern. Also, one judge was Manson, although he did not participate in the vote in the performing arts category for which he is awarded an award.

All winning artists will be featured in glossy magazine features to be released on July 30, which all readers of The Keene Sentinel will receive. The awards night will feature videos of each winner and performances by some of the same artists.

For more information on the event, contact Gina De Santis, Event Manager at The Sentinel, at [email protected]

The Ewing Awards are sponsored by Douglas Toys, the Putnam Foundation and the Hoffman Family Foundation.

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