Pennsylvania Governor Corbett, First Lady Susan Corbett Honor Winners of the Governor's Awards for the Arts

Oct 22, 2013, 17:00 ET from Pennsylvania Office of the Governor

HARRISBURG, Pa., Oct. 22, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Tom Corbett and First Lady Susan Corbett tonight recognized the recipients of the 2013 Governor's Awards for the Arts.

The ceremony, held in Harrisburg's Whitaker Center, honored outstanding Pennsylvania artists, arts organizations and patrons who have made significant contributions to the advancement of the arts.

"All of this year's honorees are a window into the range of talent and imagination found in every corner of Pennsylvania," said Corbett. "Each of them has made a contribution to our culture that will resonate for years to come. Because of that, we pay homage to their genius, generosity, imagination and impact."

The awards are a tradition spanning 33 years in Pennsylvania and are administered by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Each year the ceremony is held in a different location within the state. This is the first time in 11 years the ceremony has been held in Harrisburg.

Tonight's awards were presented to the following people:

  • Jerry Pinkney, a native Philadelphian now living in Westchester County, N.Y. – Distinguished Arts Award: Caldecott Award-winning children's book illustrator;
  • Kathleen Mulcahy and Ron Desmett, Oakdale, Allegheny County – Artists of the Year: Husband and wife glass artists who exhibit internationally and are co-founders of the Pittsburgh Glass Center;
  • Live, York, York County – Arts Innovation Award: Multi-platinum-selling rock band that has leveraged development projects and community investments in York and other regions of the state to create local job and business opportunities.
  • Bill and Beverlee Lehr, Palmyra, Lebanon County – Patron Award: philanthropists.

"The Governor's Awards for the Arts represent Pennsylvania's highest recognition of artistic talent and personal commitment to the arts," said Mrs. Corbett. "The governor and I are pleased to acknowledge and celebrate the many contributions of the 2013 recipients."

Mrs. Corbett is the Chair of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.

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

Distinguished Arts Award
Jerry Pinkney
Westchester County, N.Y. (Philadelphia Native)

Jerry Pinkney studied at the Philadelphia College of Art (now the University of the Arts) where, in 1992, he received the Alumni Award. He has been illustrating children's books since 1964, illustrating more than 100 titles and has been the recipient of five Caldecott Honor Medals, a Caldecott Medal, and five awards from The New York Times "Best Illustrated Books."

In 2003, he received an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University; in 2010 the Doctor of Fine Arts, honoris causa from the Pennsylvania College of Art and Design, Lancaster, Pennsylvania; and in May 2012 an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the Bank Street Graduate School of Education in New York.

Pinkney was also a United States nominee for the 1997 Hans Christian Andersen Illustration Medal. The Society of Illustrators in New York has presented Pinkney with four gold medals, four silver medals, the Hamilton King Awards, and, in 2006, their Original Arts Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2011, he was elected into the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame.

In addition to his work in children's books, Pinkney has had more than 30, one-man exhibitions. Venues include the Art Institute of Chicago; the California African American Museum, Los Angeles; the Brandywine River Art Museum, Chadd's Ford, Delaware County; Schomberg Center, New York City; and The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass.

He has exhibited in Japan, Russia, Italy, Taiwan, Jamaica, Bermuda and Honolulu. Pinkney has illustrated for a wide variety of clients, including the U.S. Postal Service, National Parks Service, and National Geographic Magazine.

In 2001, Pinkney was invited by First Lady Laura Bush to illustrate and design the White House Christmas Program for the Visitors Center. He has held several professorships and taught at the Pratt Institute, Brooklyn; the University of Delaware; and the University at Buffalo.

Witness: The Art of Jerry Pinkney, a recent retrospective of Pinkney's work, first exhibited by the Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, Mass., began traveling nationally in January 2012. This collection of more than 160 original works looks back at his 50-year journey as an artist, from graphic designer to narrative picture maker, spanning his professional career.

The retrospective was exhibited at the Philadelphia Museum of Art from June 28, 2013 to Sept. 22, 2013, exceeding all projected attendance estimates, and is now on view at The High Museum of Art Atlanta through January.

Pinkney's art can be found in the permanent collections at the Library of Congress, the New York Public Library, the Delaware Art Museum, the Brandywine River Museum, and the National Museum of Wildlife Art.

Artist of the Year
Kathleen Mulcahy and Ron Desmett

Kathleen Mulcahy and Ron Desmett live and work in Oakdale, outside Pittsburgh. They have collaborated on special projects since 1980 and both have won many awards including grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, and the Fulbright Foundation.

Spouses and partners, who work both collaboratively and individually, they were also the driving force behind the development of the Pittsburgh Glass Center, one of the top public access glass studios in the nation. They are Permanent Artists in Residence and a vital part of the Artistic Leadership Team.

Mulcahy has been creating works of art from glass and mixed media since 1969. After receiving her master's of fine arts degree from Alfred University in glass sculpture and three-dimensional design, she directed glass studio programs at Bowling Green State University in Ohio and Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh for 14 years.

Her work includes installation pieces, cast glass and blown glass objects. It is in many public and private collections including the American Craft Museum, The Corning Museum of Glass, the Carnegie Museum of Art, The Renwick Galleries at the Smithsonian Institution, and the Westmoreland Museum of American Art.

In 1996, Mulcahy was awarded the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust's prestigious Creative Achievement Award for her art work.

Desmett received his master's of fine arts degree from Carnegie Mellon University, where he rebuilt the entire Hot Glass Studio. Its eventual closure stimulated the creation of the Pittsburgh Glass Center. A versatile artist, he works as a painter, a glass artist, in ceramics, mixed media and sculpture. One of his iconic blown black glass "Lidded Trunk Vessels" is in the collection of the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution.

He is represented in various collections, including the Carnegie Museum of Art, the American Art Museum, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Westmoreland Museum of American Art, the Tacoma Museum of Glass and the University of Pittsburgh.

They have worked as independent artists on projects for installation in private glass collections, homes, corporate offices, public projects and solo exhibitions throughout the United States.

In January 1997, they were artists in residence at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, France. Their public art projects include work for the New Hazlett Theater in Allegheny Center, American Eagle Headquarters, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, the Port Authority Light Rail Transit Station, Penn Center West, corporate work for NOVA Chemicals, Deloitte and Touche, Kennametal Corporation, and Bayer Corporation among others.

They also developed a public art program for the town of Carnegie in 1989, featuring artist-designed planters and benches that were soon cherished by the residents and that led to Carnegie being named one of the 100 small arts towns in America.

Over a period of 10 years, from 1991 to 2001, this artist team collected more than $3 million from foundations and many donations of material to co-found and develop the Pittsburgh Glass Center, a state-of-the-art facility dedicated to teaching, creating and promoting glass art. A testament to their vision, activism and determination, the Center is a school, gallery and LEED Gold Certified glass art studio.

In its first decade, the studio hosted more than 280 artists from around the world who have taught more than 15,000 students. It has also hosted an international glass conference and a Year of Glass that brought in $20 million in revenue to Pittsburgh.

Patron Award
Bill and Beverlee Lehr

Bill and Beverlee Lehr have demonstrated their heartfelt commitment to the arts and the future of the arts on the local, state and national levels. They recently established the Bill Lehr Fund at the Americans for the Arts Foundation.

The foundation supports professional development programs that build strong staff leadership and offer opportunities for ongoing training in the arts. Respected leaders in the central Pennsylvania community, the Lehrs' influence and support extends to a wide range of arts, social service, healthcare, and academic institutions.

Mrs. Lehr, who works in ceramic sculpture, studied her craft at Millersville University, Penland School of Crafts and at the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen. She holds bachelor's degrees in biology from Trinity University and in art from Millersville University. 

Her work explores ceramic sculptural forms. Contrasting organically curving front surfaces with geometric shapes, she uses glazes to achieve effects that are colorful, textural and painterly. Her work is shown in The State Museum of Pennsylvania, Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts, the Lancaster Museum of Art, and numerous corporate and private collections. 

Lehr, Chairman of the Board of Capital BlueCross, has an exceptional record of public service to his community and his country and has provided leadership on dozens of non-profit boards. He was a Founding Director of Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts as well as the Cultural Enrichment Fund. 

He served as Chairman of the Board of The Foundation for Enhancing Communities for nine years and as President of the Board of the Susquehanna Art Museum. Currently, he is Chairman of the Harrisburg Symphony Association and a Trustee Emeritus of Lebanon Valley College where he served as Chairman of the Board for six years.

Lehr joined the Board of Americans for the Arts, the national organization that promotes arts and culture through private and public resource development, in the early 1990s. He was named Chairman of the Board in 1997, served three years, and currently chairs the Investment Committee. Through multiple mergers and rapid growth, Lehr helped guide Americans for the Arts with strategic program planning, financial planning, and long-term sustainability. 

As the organization broadened its purpose, he stressed the importance of diversified sources of revenue to assure long-term health and vitality. With the goal of establishing an endowment that would grow through private contributions, Lehr spearheaded the establishment of the Americans for the Arts Foundation in 2007. He has served as Chairman of the Foundation's Board ever since.

Lehr has been a member of the Board of Directors of Capital BlueCross for more than 20 years. Prior to his tenure with Capital BlueCross, Lehr served as senior vice president, secretary, and treasurer of Hershey Foods Corporation. 

He also served as the Lead Director of Hersha Hospitality Trust, a publicly traded real estate investment trust. During his 28-year career with Hershey Foods, he served in senior management, corporate governance, law, finance, human resources and public affairs. 

He holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Notre Dame, where he graduated cum laude, and received his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center. 

He was appointed to the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts by Corbett in 2011. His many awards include the 2009 Catalyst Award from the Harrisburg Regional Chamber and Capital Region Economic Development Corporation. In 2012, he received the inaugural Champion of Philanthropy Award from The Foundation for Enhancing Communities.

Arts Innovation Award

Chad Taylor, Patrick Dahlheimer and Chad Gracey, members of the multi-platinum rock band LIVE, have demonstrated not only award-winning artistic achievement but also the skills of innovative entrepreneurs who have invested in their hometown of York. Taylor, Dahlheimer and Gracey began investing in emerging companies in 2001.

Think Loud Holdings, their LLC with corporate headquarters in York, has developed platforms for music publishing, touring, recording, and merchandising and has diversified into film and TV production, real estate development, wealth management, as well as domestic data and fiber optic networks.

Their multi-million dollar redevelopment of the 200 block of York Street in the City of York will transform the property into a recording studio and telecommunications/technology company, bringing more than 100 jobs to York. Other development projects in Allentown and Reading are in the works.

Internationally-celebrated, LIVE has performed for more than 16 million fans and sold more than 22 million albums with 22 top-10 singles and multiple international number one albums. Rolling Stone Magazine and MTV jointly named LIVE's second album, "Throwing Copper," one of the 25 Greatest Rock Albums of All-Time. They have appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone as "Artist of the Year." 

They began as 13-year-old aspiring musicians at a York middle-school talent show. Now after more than two decades of global touring, LIVE has returned to their hometown with an effective, personal and unique vision of innovation and community development.

The band's debut album was released in 1989 and won the attention of the legendary artist manager for the Ramones and the Talking Heads, Gary Kurfirst, who signed them to his record label RadioActive Records. Their major label debut, "Mental Jewelry," was produced by Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame inductee Jerry Harrison, keyboardist and guitarist for Modern Lovers and Talking Heads.

With its lead single, "Operation Spirit" sparking a strong response on college radio that translated to sold-out nightclub appearances, the album was both a commercial and critical success.

LIVE's sophomore effort, "Throwing Copper," released in 1994 took a record 52 weeks from its debut to reach number one on Billboard's album charts, then sold 10 million copies in less than two years. Apple's iTunes has recently recognized the album on its coveted list of Iconic American Music.

In 1997, "Secret Samadhi" debuted at number one on Billboard's Album Chart and eventually went six-times platinum. In 1999, "The Distance to Here" contained the band's first international number one single, "They Stood Up For Love." The single moved the band's appearances out of arenas and into stadiums, where it achieved record attendance.

LIVE's catalog includes mega hits such as "Lightning Crashes," "I Alone," "All Over You," and "Lakini's Juice." Meanwhile, "The Dolphin's Cry" and "Overcome" ushered the group into the 21st century. Throughout the 2000's, LIVE toured heavily, maintaining their headliner status.

In 2008, the band initiated a hiatus and Taylor, Gracey and Dahlheimer, formed The Gracious Few, with Candlebox members Kevin Martin and Sean Hennesy. Former Unified Theory vocalist and guitarist Chris Shinn joined LIVE in 2011 and they've tapped into a new creative energy with a whole new crop of songs on the horizon for 2013 that carry the same poetry, power and passion.

LIVE's re-entered the recording studio with Shinn behind the microphone. Self-producing and engineering, they have enlisted original LIVE producer Jerry Harrison to launch the next musical era of LIVE.

SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor