The Cultural Council of Indian River County has named five winners of its 2019 Laurel Awards. The 23rd Laurel Award Celebration will be held at Riverside Theatre on May 8 at 6:00 pm. The distinguished awards and their winners are:
· Richard A. Stark Award for Cultural Leadership – Susan Schuyler Smith and Suzan Phillips, nominated by McKee Botanical Garden
· Alma Lee Loy Award for Volunteer Leadership – Carol Ludwig, nominated by the Center for Spiritual Care;
· Willie C. Reagan Award for Educational Leadership – Jacob Craig, nominated by Vero Beach Pipes & Drums;
· John J. Schumann, Jr. for Business Leadership – Ocean Drive Plastic Surgery, Roxanne & Alan Durkin, Owners, nominated by Under the Oaks Fine Art & Craft Show, a premier Vero Beach Art Club event.
Master of Ceremonies for the event is John E. Moore, III. Mark Wygonik is Producer and Program Director. Members of the Laurel Award Committee include Barbara Hoffman, Alicia Quinn, Oscar Sales, Mark Wygonik and Lisa Lindner.
Richard A. Stark Award for Cultural Leadership
Susan Schuyler Smith and Suzan Phillips, nominated by McKee Botanical Garden
Susan Schuyler Smith and Suzan Phillips were instrumental in the preservation of McKee Jungle Gardens and its restoration as McKee Botanical Garden. The “Sus(z)ans” recognized the botanical jewel buried under decades of decay and neglect, gathered the volunteers, garnered the support and generated the public and political awareness needed to save this Indian River County icon and now thriving cultural destination. Not only did Smith and Phillips lead the preservation effort, they stood shoulder to shoulder with the Saturday Morning Gang of volunteers to physically restore the Garden. Their nomination is supported by Alma Lee Loy, Marion de Vogel, (great granddaughter of Arthur G. McKee) and Vero Beach Opera, Inc.
Alma Lee Loy Award for Volunteer Leadership
Carol Ludwig, nominated by the Center for Spiritual Care
Carol Ludwig founded the Center for Spiritual Care in 2000 and has been from the start a major force in the Center’s administrative and program operations. The Center is a space for people to achieve personal clarity, emotional empowerment and freedom through programs that strengthen the relationship between body, mind, spirit and creativity. Promoting and celebrating the arts has been a core principle of the Center since its beginning. Carol has been described as an amazing catalyst for the local community. She has built the Center into one of the most important exhibition spaces in Indian River County, bringing the remarkable quality of local art practitioners to wider attention. More than 40 different artists have mounted exhibitions at the Center in solo and group showings. Carol’s nomination is supported by Sean Sexton, Poet Laureate of Indian River County, Shotsi Cain Lajoie, psychotherapist and educator, and Lin Reading, Founder of the local nonprofit, Friends After diagnosis.
Willie C. Reagan Award for Educational Leadership
Jacob Craig, nominated by Vero Beach Pipes and Drums
Jacob Craig is the Director of Music and Arts at First Presbyterian Church of Vero Beach and he has demonstrated musical excellence and enormous vision in a wide variety of music and art education venues throughout Indian River County. He has inspired and trained hundreds of middle and high school students to pursue their passion for music, and has created and collaborated on hundreds of programs and events to provide musical opportunities for young people as well as adult, amateur and professional musicians. Jacob founded the Primo Music
School and is the primary founder of Vero Beach Pipe and drums. He has conducted the Senior Resource Center’s Silvertones senior choir and has established a senior choir at Indian River Estates. He is an acclaimed pianist, an accomplished organist and an award winning and much sought-after bagpiper. Jacob’s nomination is supported by the Vero Beach High School Orchestra, Presbyterian Church Vero Beach and William D. Richie II.
John J. Schumann, Jr. Award for Business Leadership
Ocean Drive Plastic Surgery, Roxanne and Alan Durkin, Owners, nominated by Under the Oaks Fine Art & Craft Show, a premier Vero Beach Art Club event.
Drs. Roxanne and Alan Durkin are the founders of Ocean Drive Plastic Surgery and Med Spa, in Vero Beach. They have been strong supporters of the Treasure Coast art scene and the community at large since their arrival in Vero Beach in 2011. They have routinely supported the Marsh Island Art Club, Art under the Oaks, the Cultural Arts Council and the Vero Beach Museum of Art. They participated in Dancing with Vero Stars in 2012, taking 2nd place and setting a philanthropic record of raising $69,000 in donations to the Healthy Start Coalition. The Durkins are also the premier sponsors for the Physician’s Symposium benefitting the Women’s Refuge of Vero Beach, premier corporate supporters of the Vero Beach Humane Society and foundational donors to the Vero Beach Dog Park. Dr. Durkin is a sitting board member for the Daisie Hope Center.
The Laurel Awards presentation program at Riverside Theatre has become “An Indian River County tradition”. The event combines 10 Cultural Council member art galleries showing and selling 150 pieces of art, culinary samplings and a cocktail reception in the Riverside Theatre lobby followed by a member showcase of performing arts integrated with the award presentations and video showings in the Stark Theatre. Tickets are available at Riverside Theatre’s box office, 772-231-6990 or at www.riversidetheatre.com. VIP tickets are $75 and include the VIP reception, preferred seating for the stage performance, followed by dessert & champagne toast. Tickets for the program only are $25.