The Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas took time out Thursday to honor the many dedicated individuals who work on exhibitions, in the performing arts and a variety of other areas during its annual Volunteer Night.
Lenore Shoults, executive director of the center, told guests in attendance that “the Arts & Science Center would not exist without volunteers.”
“In 2012, we logged over 12,000 volunteer hours. We are profoundly grateful for the thousands of volunteer hours,” she said. Shoults said those volunteer hours, if paid at minimum wage, saved the center more than $87,000.
Shoults presented the Margaret Spearman Memorial award to Gail and Mac Bellingrath.
“For decades, the Bellingraths have devoted time and treasure to the center and we are grateful for their longstanding generosity,” Shoults said.
Shoults said the center exists today due to the efforts of many people and Mac Bellingrath, as chairman of the building committee from 1991-1994, is one of those who worked toward the vision of the building that is now the epicenter of arts and sciences in southeast Arkansas. The Arts & Science Center opened in its current location in 1994. Mac has also served on the center’s Endowment Board.
Gail Bellingrath has volunteered thousands of hours over the years, most notably for Potpourri, the biennial fundraiser that helps to support the Arts & Science Center, and has worked every aspect of Potpourri, including co-chairman of that event in 1994.
Gail graciously accepted the award, accompanied by a photo cutout of Mac, who was out of town on a skiing trip.
“I would like to thank the awards committee. Mac and I are so honored to receive this award,” Gail said. “I can’t imagine Pine Bluff without the Arts & Science Center. We need to encourage our friends, our family and our neighbors to engage themselves through membership, which is key to (the center) flourishing.”
The Rev. David Fleming presented the Catherine M. Bellamy Award for the performing arts to Rilla Chandler, who was overcome with emotion.
“I am overwhelmed, honored and humbled. There are so many other more deserving people,” Chandler said.
Timothy Rhoades, education coordinator for the center, presented this year’s Good Egg awards to Michael and Kayla Lake, Nick and Stephanie Snider and Ben and Rebekah Brantley.
Following the awards portion of the night, the center provided a preview of the 2013 performing arts season with snippets from “Love Letters”, “The Hobbitt”, “Oliver!” and “Razzle Dazzle”.
Light refreshments were served following the performances.
The Arts & Science Center, located at 701 Main St., is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 1-4 p.m. Saturday and is closed on Sunday. For more information or to purchase tickets for the 2013 Theatre Season, contact the center at 870-536-3375, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website at www.ArtsScienceCenter.org.