Business Support of the Arts Awards Announced for 2014


Raleigh, — N.C. — United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County and the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce have named the recipients of the annual Business Support of the Arts Awards, recognizing outstanding contributions to the arts in our area by businesses, organizations and individuals. Awards are given in four categories: large business, small business, individual and arts education. A special award – The Paladin Award – will also be presented during the 4th Annual State of the Arts and Culture in Wake County January 14, 2014 event at the North Carolina Art Museum, 8 am. The event is free and open to the public.


The Large Business category winner, Allscripts, was nominated by the North Carolina Theatre Company and Marbles Kids Museum. “Allscripts has been a leading and consistent sponsor of NC Theatre in its pursuits to maintain a professional theatre company in NC and in its commitment to theatre education across all ages. Over time, Allscripts has deepened their investment with the theater by increasing their original donation amount to $25,000 and agreeing to a multi-year commitment. As a continuing sponsor, they have helped NC Theatre bring to the stage blockbuster performances, including the highly successful CATS in fall 2013,” read the nomination.

Allscripts employees donate their time and efforts as contribution board members of multiple organizations in Raleigh. They are currently represented on the NC Theatre Board by Paige Hamp, who recently spearheaded an effort to incorporate NC Theatre into an Allscripts corporate party at Marbles Kids Museum. Recently, Allscripts brought in the NC School for the Blind students as well as a local performing arts charter school to have a behind-the-scenes backstage experience. Without Allscripts’ support, NC Theatre would not be able to have a full time conservatory, which provides Raleigh with a mechanism for creating future theatre stars.

Marbles Kids Museum has received a three-year presenting sponsorship from Allscripts in support of Power2Play, a high-energy exhibit gallery that anchors the museum’s Be Healthy/Be Active initiative to provide play environments that promote physical activity and healthy choices.

Recipient of the award in the Small Business category is Senter, Stephenson, Johnson, PA, nominated by Ann-Marie Amico. Senter, Stephenson, Johnson, PA, with principal partner Linda Johnson, is a long-time supporter of the arts in the town of Fuquay-Varina. They have been involved in the Fuquay-Varina High School Theatre Boosters and provided financial support and volunteer hours for arts initiatives provided by Fuquay-Varina Downtown, including the Annual Celebration of the Arts (arts and craft show), the Annual En Plein Air Art Paint-Off, and various musical performances in years past.

For the last two years, the law firm has been a patron of Artistic Expressions, an artist co-op and art gallery in Fuquay-Varina, with Linda providing gallery space, legal counsel and bookkeeping for the gallery. This gallery, in turn, provides a venue for its 12-member artists, who pay a nominal monthly fee for rent and advertising. Linda is currently working to create a non-profit entity for the co-op, so that it can raise funds and provide an arts scholarship for local high school students.

The law firm staff has been encouraged to volunteer in the community. One employee served on the exploratory committee that began the current process of building a performing arts center for Fuquay-Varina. Senter, Stephenson, Johnson PA continues to be a vital and essential supporter of the arts for this municipality.

The honoree in the Individual Category is Robert C. Morrow, nominated by Margaret Partridge of the Philharmonic Association and Anthony P. Dowling of Eno River Media Productions. Robert Morrow has contributed significant human resources to promote the arts in Wake County for 15 years. When he moved to the Triangle in 1992, Robert brought a wealth of experience and a strong commitment to the arts. Since 1998, Robert has donated upwards of 50 hours per year to the Philharmonic Association, a non-profit sponsoring youth music ensembles in Wake County. His contributions have dramatically transformed the public face of the organization. Through his efforts, the Philharmonic’s “homemade” photocopied single –page programs moved to professionally designed and produced publications. He redesigned the Philharmonic’s quarterly newsletter, designed and launched the Philharmonic’s website, and produced professional designed advertisements.

Robert has helped upgrade the quality of video recording made of each Philharmonic ensemble performance, which helps the organizations gain stature in grant funding requests. He has served as an adjudicator for the Wake County Public School Art Invitational that provided the artwork selected for the Philharmonic Association concert program covers. Finally, Robert has provided training to the Philharmonic Executive Director in the software utilized for their website and printed programs. He continues to serve the organization by designing program covers and publicity materials, supplying technical support for the website and providing finishing touches for the newsletter.

In 2008, Robert single-handedly launched the online magazine Triangle Arts and Entertainment. As a serious crusader for the arts, he wants all local visual and performing arts organizations, large and small, for-profit and non-profit, to have a voice. Roberts believes that audiences are unaware of the full scope of offerings by the Triangle’s vibrant arts community and seeks to connect patrons with the numerous events held here. Some 25,000 visit his site each month. “Robert Morrow makes the Triangle a better place to live…,” says the nomination.

Behind the scenes at numerous arts events throughout our community are two outstanding leaders who support arts education by training young people in technical theatre productions. Winners in the Arts Education category, Bill Brown and Chris Droessler, have, without fanfare or expectation of recognition, provided lighting, sound and logistical technical assistance for such events as United Arts’ Artists in the Schools booking fair; Pieces of Gold; numerous exhibits at the NC State Fair; a wide variety of arts activities on college and university campuses; and for area arts organizations like the Raleigh Symphony and Raleigh Little Theatre.

In each of these settings, Bill and Chris teach young people from area technical theatre programs how to plan and implement successful events. Artistic integrity, collaboration and patience are key elements that both Bill and Chris believe in, live by and teach to ensure a positive audience experience. As role models for young people, these two men demonstrate the skills of creative problem-solving that are necessary for success in any field, not just the arts. Former mentees have become successful lighting designers, sound engineers, scenic artists, production stage managers, and arts administrators on the local, state, national and international level.

Professionally, Bill Brown is director of events and community programs at Meredith College. Chris Droessler is an education consultant with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction where he coordinates the College Tech Prep, Work-Based Learning, and High Schools That Work programs, among other responsibilities. The two were nominated by Elizabeth Grimes Droessler.

At the discretion of United Arts, special awards occasionally are made to honor other outstanding community contributions to the Wake County art scene. For 2014, United Arts will honor the Wake County Commission for its years of continuous support of the arts. Commissioner Phil Matthews will be on hand to accept the Paladin Award.

The United Arts Council’s mission is to build better communities through support and advocacy of the arts. The mission of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce is to sustain and further develop a thriving economy and to enhance our community’s quality of life.