About 100 board members, artists and interested members of the community turned out Thursday night for the 19th Annual Meeting of The Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County. The alliance promotes and advances arts and culture in the community.
The evening’s events included the 2010 Year in Review, a presentation of the second Dominique Award and the panel discussion “A Place For Arts In The Community,” facilitated by Aquidneck Island Planning Commission’s Executive Director, Tina Dolen.
Dolen said she was excited to see the arts community come together. “The service, spark and outlook that art brings to any community affects all endeavors, whether it is business, social or performing arts and not one of those could exist and thrive without the thought of the an artist, this is what really makes us alive.”
The recipient of this year's Dominique Award, an award for outstanding dedication and service to the arts community, went to Alison Vareika, Director of William Vareika Fine Arts.
Vareika has chaired the Newport Performing Arts Center's Opera House Project for the past four years and was honored as this year’s recipient. Dominique Alfrande, for whom the award was named, credited Vareika for “bringing the Opera House Project back to life in an imaginative way.” Vareika implored civic leaders, artists and community members alike to “get involved and please help."
“This project not only will help the economic development of this community by creating jobs, it will artistically enrich the community with another level of the arts, the performing arts," Vareika said. “This town is known for it’s historic preservation and this theatre, built in 1867, is one of the oldest theatres in the country. People need to pull together now for this cause and make this theatre a part of the fabric of this community."
Seven communities in Newport County were represented for the panel discussion. The panel included Mark Nikel of the Portsmouth Arts and Culture Commitee, Jennifer Sunderland of the Tiverton Four Corners Art Center, Elizabeth Goddard, Exectuive Director of the Newport Art Museum, Dominique Alfrande of the Opera House Performing Arts, Lisa Randall of the Jamestown Arts Center, Gail Malloy, Executive Director of the Little Compton Community Center and Susan Woythaler of the Middletown Committee for the arts.
Rose Mary Kavanagh, painter and gallery owner said she was impressed with the work these panelists have been doing.
"They are doing a great job putting themselves out there and enriching everyone’s lives and are working very hard and show their dedication to the cause. Civic leaders should be eager to support in any way," Kavanagh said.