A Lehigh Valley resident who knows the positive impact that the arts have on the City of Allentown and surrounding communities will be honored by the Allentown Arts Commission with the Special Recognition Award at the 26th Annual Arts Ovation awards luncheon on May 8, at noon, at The Palace Center, 623 Hanover Ave., Allentown.
Sanford T. (Sandy) Beldon of Lower Macungie Township served as chairman of the board of trustees of the Allentown Art Museum for nine years. He is a member of its board and executive committee. During his tenure, he led the museum in the development of the Community Arts Park on Fifth Street, which connects the Allentown Art Museum, Allentown Symphony Hall and The Baum School of Art. He also serves on the board of directors of Civic Theatre of Allentown. Beldon retired as a senior vice president of Rodale, Inc., where he was publisher of Organic Gardening, Prevention, and other related magazines. He was a founding board member of Wildlands Conservancy, board chairman of Lehigh Valley Child Care, the Second Harvest Food Bank of the Lehigh Valley, and boards of Lehigh County Youth Advisory Board and Lehigh County Historical Society. He is married to Patricia Wood.
Arts-related scholarships to high school students in the City of Allentown also will be presented.
Reservations, at $35 per person and $260 for a table of eight, are available by calling Arts Ovation co-chairwoman Susan Rutt at 610-791-3497.
Sponsorships are available ranging from $100 to $1,500. For information, call Arts Ovation co-chairman Charles Kalan at 610-791-1257.
Other Arts Ovation recipients are:
• Performing Arts: William Allen High School Chorale, started in 1970 by the late George Boyer, evolved as a year-round, audition-based show/jazz/chamber choir under the direction of Patrick Brady. Currently led by Brandon Remp, it is comprised of 20-plus students whose community service averages up to 70 performances per year for church groups, city and school functions, and senior citizen centers and nursing homes. Performances also include the Great Allentown Fair and Allentown School District Foundation’s Summer Arts Celebration on the PPL Plaza. An annual beneficiary concert reaches out to a local charity. Community service trips have included Nashville, San Francisco, New Orleans and New York. A strict membership policy requires students to maintain exemplary academic records and outstanding disciplinary and attendance records.
• Literary Arts: Sharon Lee Glassman and Gretchen Klinedinst Furst, Lehigh Valley educators, were inspired to write a tribute about their own mothers and mother figures who were influential in shaping their own lives in the form of an original play, “Mommalogues,” which went from a sold-out, world premiere in Civic Theatre of Allentown’s black-box theater in 2012 to an Off-Broadway debut in 2013. The original, emotionally-charged monologues raised a universal awareness in honoring the infinite bond.
• Service: St. Thomas More Summer Theatre Magic, with artistic director Natalie Seng Pionegro and assisted by Tim Clark, began as a charitable outreach of the Allentown church adult choir in 1999, and since has raised nearly $350,000 for local charities through family-friendly musical productions presented in its Family Center. Local charities that have benefited include Lehigh County Conference of Churches, Sixth Street Shelter, Habitat for Humanity of the Lehigh Valley, Camelot for Children, Bill Sugra Memorial Fund, and Dream Come True of the Lehigh Valley.
• Visual Arts: Barnaby Ruhe is a performing artist whose signature wide, vibrant brush strokes have captured local personalities on canvas faster than a speeding bullet. This energetic marathon mural painter, also recognized as an artist activist on environmental issues in the community, began his art in the 60s. He often donates his time as well as a portion of his proceeds to numerous charitable organizations in the Lehigh Valley, including the Allentown Art Museum, Planned Parenthood, and the Program for Women and Families. A former teacher at The Baum School of Art, he divides his time between Allentown and New York City, “cross-ventilating” artists in the two locales. As a member of the Artists’ Council of Mayfair Festival of the Arts, he helped launch The Gallery at Mayfair and The Pig Pen Project: Experimental Arts in 2013.
• Contribution: Scott Stoneback, executive producer/president of award-winning film and broadcast video production company, The Media People, formed in 1975 and based in his hometown of Alburtis, stands strong in his give-back to support local arts organizations and nonprofits. He has provided broadcast videotaping services to such organizations as Muhlenberg College Theatre and Dance Department, Civic Theatre of Allentown, The Baum School of Art, Allentown School District, East Penn School District, Minsi Trails Council BSA, Camelot for Children and its Christmas Spectacular, Dream Come True, Cystic Fibrosis, Mayfair Festival of the Arts, and the County of Lehigh, Boroughs of Alburtis, Macungie and Emmaus. For 25 years, Stoneback and his company have produced the video presentation on the current year’s recipients seen at the annual Allentown Arts Commission’s Arts Ovation awards luncheon.
• Emerging Arts: Allentown School District Foundation was created in 2009 with the vision to create an enriched education for students in the district. In expanding arts opportunities for its 17,500 students, it funds programs in theater, dance, visual arts and music for grades K-12. The Foundation works with such groups as the Baum School and Community Music School for artists’ and musicians’ residencies; awards student scholarships to college-bound seniors, and awards Teacher Innovation Grants. Its signature fundraising event, High Notes gala, showcases middle and high school spring musicals. Student talent also is showcased at the Summer Arts Celebration at the PPL Plaza, Art in the Park, and Mayfair Festival of the Arts.