The Times West Virginian

Breaking News

Local News

November 4, 2013

Individuals honored for contributions to local arts

FAIRMONT — The Fairmont Arts and Humanities Commission recognized individuals who have impacted the hearts and minds of people across the community through their talents.

On Sunday afternoon, the commission held its 29th annual awards ceremony “Honoring Fairmont’s Finest” at Central United Methodist Church in Fairmont. Since 1984, the Fairmont Arts and Humanities Commission has been giving awards to local people in the arts, said Jack Hussey, member of the commission.

“We’re here to honor folks who ... affect our lives, who give us pleasure and insight and hopefulness and truth, and have given themselves entirely through their lives or at least a great part of their lives to the creative fire which lights the heart,” he said.

The members of the Fairmont Arts and Humanities Commission are appointed by the City of Fairmont, but they volunteer their time freely to try to promote the arts in Marion County, said Mandy Steele, president of the commission.

This year’s honorees represented a variety of arts. The six recipients were each presented with a trophy featuring a red glass cardinal and also a certificate of appreciation.

Commission member and past president Rhonda Lemke Sanford introduced 16-year-old Fairmont ballerina Sophie Silnicki, who was celebrated for her accomplishments in dance. Silnicki, who has received national recognition, is a student at the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School and is also the assistant choreographer at Movements in Dance, the Fairmont dance studio her mother Stephanie Lopez owns.

Silnicki said her biggest goal is to become a professional ballerina with a ballet company, but she’s also interested in other forms of dance and would like to be a Radio City Rockette, appear in a broadway show and explore choreography. She thanked her family for their constant support and for encouraging her to follow her dreams.

“I am grateful and honored and will continue to work hard to make my community proud,” said Silnicki, who gave two dance performances during the event.

Robert Elliott was presented an award for his work as a blacksmith and tinsmith by commission member Susan Haley. Elliott’s love for blacksmithing and working with different metals began when he was a kid, and he has been practicing this art for 29 years. He is a juried Tamarack artist and has been commissioned to make various pieces, and displayed some of his work at the church on Sunday.

Elliott said he has met a lot of people throughout his life who have had an impact on him.

“I would like to thank them all for their support, their encouragement and their help,” he said.

He expressed his appreciation to the audience for taking the time to share this moment with him.

Commission member Judy Byers gave the introduction for Charlie Pitrolo, who received the award for music. Byers said Pitrolo has been making music go round in the community for years and has inspired and entertained countless audiences. In addition to being a lifelong musician, he is an educator and has worked for Marion County Schools since 1980.

Pitrolo, who sang two songs for the audience, said God gave him this gift, and many individuals helped develop it and played a part in directing, encouraging and coaching him.

“We’re given the gift,” he said. “God puts people in our lives to nurture that gift so that it can mature and glorify him. This is a very special occasion.”

Dora Grubb, who has served as president of the Marion County Historical Society for nine years, received the historian award from commission member Sue Montgomery. Grubb is fascinated with Marion County’s heritage and believes strongly in its preservation. She said many people don’t realize the influence that Fairmont and Marion County had in establishing West Virginia.

Grubb said she was very surprised and felt privileged to be awarded this honor. She commented that it’s so important for the community to learn about Marion County’s history and to promote it. She expressed her appreciation to all those who are involved in the Marion County Historical Society.

“You’re only as good as your volunteers and your workers,” Grubb said. “It’s volunteers that deserve this award, not I.”

Grubb set up a display on the Marion County Historical Society and Museum at the event.

Hussey introduced award winner Jeff Ingman, who was acknowledged for his achievements in theater. Hussey said Fairmont State University, where Ingman is an associate professor of theater, offers valuable arts to the community, and Ingman has great imagination and theatrical gifts.

Ingman, who is a teacher, actor and director, said he was humbled and grateful for the award. He thanked Fairmont State, community members and students for each helping him to become who he is today. He has directed more than 80 shows in his career, and has formed some great collaborations during that time.

“It is an honor to have been a part of the community and to have been a part of the family here,” he said.

Ingman encouraged people to go to the theater for the experience. His colleague in Fairmont State’s School of Fine Arts, Dr. Francene Kirk, performed a scene from the upcoming production of “The Original and True Rocket Boys,” which is directed by Troy Snyder and R.J. Nestor with performances scheduled for later this month.

The final award went to East Fairmont High School senior Laura Laratta, who was introduced by Peggy Edwards, a member of the commission, as “an artist of the future.” She was nominated by commission treasurer Mary Reed for the award because of her writing ability.

Laratta, who stays busy with various activities at her school, won third place in the statewide West Virginia Writer’s “Voice of the Mountains” competition and has also received other writing awards.

Laratta said she was proud to be recognized with this talented group of people. She commented that she applies hard work to everything she does.

“I found that writing allows me to express my feelings,” she said. “I will cherish this award and promise you that I will continue to earn your faith in me.”

Email Jessica Borders at jborders@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @JBordersTWV.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • UPDATE: Police say 11-year-old shot in 'accidental discharge of a firearm'

    A boy remains in critical condition after being shot more than a week ago, and police officials are now saying the incident was accidental in nature.

    April 17, 2014

  • Attorney General - CB.jpg Morrisey wants to work with all to ‘help transform West Virginia’

    State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey wants to work with citizens to “help transform West Virginia.”
    Morrisey was the guest speaker for the Marion County Chamber of Commerce’s “Lunch and Learn” event Wednesday at the Mon Power headquarters, located in the I-79 Technology Park in Fairmont. His trip to the Friendly City followed a town hall meeting in Harrison County Tuesday night.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Behind-the-scenes emergency workers honored

    The Marion County Commission is recognizing the individuals who work behind the scenes when an emergency happens.
    During Wednesday’s meeting, commissioners signed a proclamation for National Public Safety Tele-Communicator’s Week in Marion County. The proclamation recognizes individuals working at the Marion County 911 Center.

    April 17, 2014

  • Wallace residents plead guilty to fishing violations

    Two Wallace residents were cited for and pleaded guilty to trout fishing violations.
    Michael Earl Fetty, 70, and Tammy K. Fetty, 46, were issued citations for exceeding possession limit of trout and conspiracy to violate Chapter 20 of the West Virginia State Code.

    April 17, 2014

  • Military Kids 1 - CB.jpg Military children honored for their sacrifices: PHOTOS

    Military children were honored for their sacrifices Tuesday at the Hershel “Woody” Williams Fairmont Armed Forces Reserve Center.
    The event was planned to coincide with Purple Up! Day, a nationwide initiative that encourages everyone to wear purple in honor of military children across the country.

    April 16, 2014 4 Photos

  • Child health: ‘Room for improvement’

    Children living in Marion County are doing better in some respects than children in other counties in the state, according to a national study released Tuesday.
    “The 2013 West Virginia Kids Count Data Book,” published by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, compares states and their counties to each other and to the national average of various areas of child health.

    April 16, 2014

  • Another civil suit filed by Marple

    Though a civil case in already pending in U.S federal court, former state Superintendent of Schools Jorea Marple has filed another civil suit over her 2012 termination.
    The main difference between the two cases, apparently, is that in addition to naming the West Virginia Board of Education as a plaintiff, former president of the board and current member Wade Linger is individually named in the suit as a defendant.

    April 16, 2014

  • County man indicted for murder of infant

    A Marion County man has been indicted on charges for the death of an infant.
    Marcus Curtis Lewis, 55, was indicted for charges of first-degree murder and death of a child by a parent, guardian of custodian by Taylor County grand jurors Monday. Judge Alan D. Moats is expected to arraign Lewis on Friday.

    April 16, 2014

  • Three arrested on charges stemming from armed robbery

    Three men were arrested in the Fairmont area on charges stemming from an armed robbery.
    Corey Joseph Richardson, 35, of Montgomery Village, Md.; Stephen Joseph Brewington, 26, of Allston, Mass.; and Wallace Anthony Booth Jr., 21, of Fairmont, were arrested on Tuesday and charged with robbery, burglary and conspiracy to commit a felony.

    April 16, 2014

  • marcus lewis.jpg Marion County man indicted in murder of infant

    A Marion County man was indicted by the Taylor County grand jury Monday on charges for the death of an infant.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
TWV Video Highlights
NDN Editor's Picks
House Ads