BY GEORGE J. DACRE
It was the 24th annual awards ceremony, an event originally initiated by Rockland County’s first County Executive John Grant of Haverstraw with his wife Mary. Six awards were given to individuals and an arts organization for significant contributions to the arts community in Rockland County.
Awards went to Morose Leonard of Spring Valley High School as Arts Educator; Daniel Wolff as Literary Artist; Jacquelyn Dreschler of Valey Cottage as Performing Artist, Brett DiPalma, Visual Artist; The Rockland County Jazz and Blues Society, Arts Organization and Bill Batson of Nyack, Patron of the Arts. County Executive Scott Vanderhoef, who was praised by many at the event for his support of the Arts in the County, presented the new “Ars Longa” Award, given to an individual or organization that has made a lasting, lifelong impact on the arts and the quality of life in Rockland County, in honor of Edward Hopper, famed international artist who resided in Nyack.
Presenters included Richard Struck of Orange and Rockland Utilities, Keith Cornell, president of the Arts Council of Rockland Board of Directors, and Vanderhoef. Harriet Cornell of the Rockland County Legislature, Dr. Cliff Wood, president, Rockland Community College, Julie Ramos, executive director, Rockland Center for the Arts and Greg Wyatt, sculptor were among the speakers. Performing at the event were Grammy Award-winning pianist Alan Broadbent, the Jeffrey Friedberg Band and celloists husband and wife duo Julia Lichten and David Gerber.
The County Executive’s Office and the Office of Tourism and Local Development partnered with the Arts Council of Rockland to produce the event. Sponsors of the Awars event included Orange and Rockland Utilities, News 12, ArtsRock and the New York State Economic Development’s I Love NY program.