The Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas recently took a moment to honor those who give of their time and talent to make the center all it is today during its annual Volunteer Night. This year, the center also used the event to jump-start its celebration of 20 years in the current location.
As Executive Director Lenore Shoults welcomed guests to the event, she took a moment to remember the late A.W. Nelson, architect of the building, who died the day prior to the event.
“Tonight as we celebrate volunteers let us remember the spirit of the artist who designed this great gathering place, A.W. Nelson,” she said.
Shoults said the center could not operate without the help of its volunteers.
“The Arkansas Department of Human Services compiles an annual report entitled, ‘The Economic Impact of Arkansas Volunteers.’ In the recent report, they calculated the annual dollar value of Arts and Science Center volunteers at over $300,000,” she said. “Twenty plus years ago there were three volunteers who spearheaded the capital campaign that made this building a reality — Mac Bellingrath, George Makris and Adam Robinson — and they are still supporting the center today.”
Shoults then introduced former executive director, Helen Claire Brooks, who took attendees on a “trip down memory lane” with the history of the building.
Chairman of the A&S Center board, Charlotte England, presented the Margaret Spearman Memorial Volunteer of the Year Award to Ann Smith, who coordinates the Art Krewe opening night receptions that are enjoyed by thousands of attendees over the course of each year.
England said Smith is “a lady that we all love and admire. Ann doesn’t speak highly of herself, she says she does nothing but she does it well. Well, us that have worked with her can verify that she is telling the truth,” England said. “Not about not doing anything, but doing it well. Whatever Ann puts her mind to do, she does it really, really well.”
England said the Margaret Spearman Award is “given to those who give long service hours and who go above and beyond.”
“And that is what Ann does. And that is why we are so lucky to have her here to accept this award because she definitely goes above and beyond. For her dedication and service, I am so pleased to present the Margaret Spearman Award to this lovely lady,” England concluded.
The 2013 recipient of the coveted Catherine M. Bellamy Award for the Performing Arts was Adam Robinson. The award was presented to Robinson by his longtime friend, Mike Galster, who entertained the crowd with stories of a friendship that has lasted through the ages.
Shoults said, “No one has done more for the theater at the Arts & Science Center than Adam … he insisted that the theater needed a fly system — and he was right, and he has volunteered countless hours in service to the center. It is impossible to imagine the theater without Adam Robinson and we are grateful for his service,” she said.
In accepting the award, Robinson said, “I am honored and humbled to receive this award named for a beautiful woman I knew and whose generosity led to the building of this center and specifically this theater. In this space, I have seen many lives changed for the better, both young and old. Certainly my life was changed here for the better. Tonight I think about all the people who bring this place to life,” he continued.
Robinson told the crowd that the theater was not just built to honor the past, but to honor the future and future performances and audiences to come. He challenged attendees to keep the center going by bringing in new ideas and new talents.
“Thirty years ago, this space was a dream. Twenty years ago, it became a reality. Today it’s a promise, it’s full of promise. I accept this award on behalf of everyone who has worked on and in this space. Me being here is great for me, but it’s not important. What’s important is who’s next,” Robinson said.
Good Egg Awards were also presented during the event and recipients were Glenda Reeves and Ann Talbot.
The center, located at 701 Main St., is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 1-4 p.m. Saturday and is closed on Sunday. For more information, contact the center at 870-536-3375, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website at www.ArtsScienceCenter.org.