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Arts Council honors volunteers
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The Arts Council Inc. recognized and thanked longtime community volunteers, supporters and donors at its recent annual membership meeting and awards luncheon at The Arts Council Smithgall Arts Center. The honorees have helped The Arts Council to meet the artistic and educational needs of its community and surrounding areas.

Individuals and corporations recognized were:

Outstanding Community Volunteers: Ed and Melody Entrekin

Ed and Melody Entrekin of Buford have tirelessly dedicated time and talent during the Arts in Schools Benefit Festival, The Arts Council’s Red Carpet Gala Casino Night, catering several hundred meals for the independent film opening night and Summer MusicFest outdoor concerts. Their willingness, dedication and positive attitude are a blessing to The Arts Council.

Outstanding Board Member Award: Richard Riley

Richard Riley has worked extremely hard for the past two years to achieve outstanding progress for The Arts Council. His ‘can do’ attitude and advertising background helped redirect and add new goals and objectives to The Arts Council’s long range marketing plan. Riley also serves on the membership committee, readily ushers at numerous events and utilized his resources in garnering valuable donations for the Red Carpet Gala Casino Night.

Workhorse Award: Gale McKibbon

After winning the Outstanding Volunteer Award last year, Gale McKibbon has continued to work diligently and steadfastly putting in numerous hours ensuring the success of events. This new award has been created specifically for McKibbon. She, other committee members and staff were instrumental in planning and executing the Arts in Schools Festival, which brought more than 3,000 patrons to the facility in one day and the Red Carpet Gala Casino Night. Her generosity with time and funds, creativity and tireless work ethic are tremendously appreciated. No task is too mundane, too small or too time-consuming. Gale just rolls up her sleeves and works tirelessly.

President’s Award to Outgoing President: Lori Carter

Lori Carter has served as the president of the board of directors for the past two years and is the fourth Carter to have served on the board. Through financial challenges and the addition of two huge fundraising and outreach initiatives, Carter has been a steadfast champion of the arts. Even though she is moving from the president’s position, she has promised her talents in co-chairing next year’s Red Carpet Gala Casino Night.

Lifetime Friend of the Arts: Richard and Phyllis Leet

Richard and Phyllis Leet served on The Arts Council board shortly after moving to Gainesville several years ago. They have not only provided thousands of service hours over the years, but have provided major financial support to The Arts Council and its affiliates, including Brenau University, Quinlan Art Center, Gainesville Symphony Orchestra, Gainesville Theatre Alliance, Elachee Nature Center and others. Their generous philanthropic efforts have impacted local communities as well as national institutions.

Corporate Friend of the Arts Award: Bob Swoszowski and McDonald’s, Inc.

This award was given to a new Arts Council corporate sponsor who saw a need and met it with little hesitation. Bob Swoszowski has been a benevolent donor to many arts organizations and truly believes in giving back to his community. This coveted award was presented to honor Swoszowski and McDonald’s for their financial support and partnering efforts with The Arts Council to initiate an Arts in Schools Benefit Festival. The aim of this festival was to help Gainesville and Hall County schools raise funds for Arts in Education, a program of taking professional artists into classrooms to teach curriculum based academics through the arts. Through Swoszowski and McDonald’s generosity, thousands of local children experienced firsthand and learned through the arts programs during this academic year.

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