Arts Commission cancels annual ceremony, still honors local artists

Jamie Colanero, a 2020 AHC honoree, is the director of road and grounds and special events coordinator at Fairmont State.

FAIRMONT — The Fairmont Arts and Humanities Commission has canceled its annual awards event this year, but will still honor local artists.

Jack Hussey, president of the Fairmont Arts and Humanities Commission, said the organization will honor 11 local artists and others who help promote the local arts community, but a ceremony won’t take place for them until at least next year because of the coronavirus pandemic. However, the student awards, of which there are always four, will be distributed early.

“This year’s student awards are going to be given to them,” Hussey said. “The others will wait until next spring.”

As part of the annual awards ceremony, the artists who are recognized also perform or show off their work to the audience present. Hussey said the recipients have been prepared to perform, so it is possible the organization will broadcast some of them via Facebook.

“It’s possible there is going to be a Facebook presentation Sunday of some of them,” Hussey said. “We have folks ready to do all that stuff, but next spring, though, they will be doing it.”

Jamie Colanero is director of road and grounds and special events coordinator at Fairmont State University, and has been selected for an award in the design category. He said he credits the team of people he works with for the work they have done as a whole, and that this award goes out to all of them.

“We just became a team and showed up with teamwork with everybody working together,” Colanero said. “Everybody’s opinions had a meaning, we discussed everything daily amongst the whole crew — what we were going to do, how we were going to do it, what would be the easiest way — and everybody’s suggestion had meaning, so we sat down and evaluated every day what we were going to do and then we all come together and got it done.”

Specifically, Colanero said Tom Willard, Kenny Satterfield, Terry Rinehart, Bill Earhart, Eric Britton and Roxanne Springer are co-workers who helped earn this award. Colanero said he is honored to be recognized at all.

“It just feels really humbling,” Colanero said. “I appreciate it dearly, but it revolves around the team that I have. Everybody bought in, and once you get them to buy in, you’ve got a team.”

Hussey said it was still important for him to honor the artistic achievements of people who make a difference through the arts. He said the pandemic, along with the recent Fairmont State University decision to discontinue music and theatre majors at the university, make these achievements more important than ever, and he hopes that people are uplifted by the awards.

“It was particularly important this year, at this time of the year because of the situation at Fairmont State, wanting to cancel music and theater programs,” Hussey said. “The arts and all types; performing arts, literary arts and the humanities as well, are obviously important for everybody in the community.”

Email Eddie Trizzino at etrizzino@timeswv.com and follow him on Twitter at @eddietimeswv.

News Reporter

Eddie Trizzino has been a reporter with the Times West Virginian since August of 2017, covering the entertainment, business and health beats. He spends most of his time listening to records, going to the movies and strolling through the town.

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