“Art Champions” announced for 2021 by Mendocino County Arts Council • The Mendocino Voice | Mendocino County, CAThe Mendocino Voice

MENDOCINO Co., 9/10/21 – Each year, the Mendocino Arts Council selects a group of “art champions” from nominations from the community, and the now 19th annual winners have been announced. The 2021 Art Champions include Corine Pearce, in the artist category, the Gualala Arts Center for Arts Organization, Black Oak Coffee as the corporate recipient, Blake More in the educator category, Larry R. Wagner in the individual category , and an honorable mention for Galerie MOYENNE.

Here is the announcement with more details on the 2021 Canada Council award recipients:

The Mendocino County Arts Council Board of Directors is pleased to announce the recipients of the 19th Annual Mendocino County Arts Champion Award.

The champions of the arts, nominated each year by members of the community and selected by the board of directors of the Conseil des arts, will be officially recognized by a proclamation of the supervisory board (date to be determined). The 2021 Arts Champions in the following categories are: Artist: Corine Pearce; Artistic organization: Gualala Arts Center; Business: Black Oak Coffee; Educator: Blake More; Individual: Larry R. Wagner; Honorable mention: MEDIUM gallery.

Corine Pearce, Champion of the Arts in the Artist category, is a basket maker, herbalist, dancer, storyteller and cultural educator of Lake and Mendocino ancestry. Corine has taught basket weaving, traditional uses of native plants, land stewardship, fire ecology, and traditional ecological knowledge for over 25 years.

Corine is the author of Pomo Cradle Baskets: An Introduction, winner of the first Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellow in 2020, is the recipient of the Jennifer Easton Community Spirit Award 2020 and is currently in the PBS program Handicrafts in Americathe “California” episode and the California Indian Conference Teaching and Learning Exhibition “California American Indian Culture and Arts Pedagogy”. His basketry has been featured in numerous newspaper articles, art galleries and museum exhibits, including an upcoming collaborative exhibit at the San Francisco de Young Museum (see www.corinepearce.com). In the words of her proponent, “Corine works tirelessly to revitalize local tribal arts and traditions; … Its weaving heals and restores both the land and the people, connecting future generations with a living cultural identity.

Gualala Arts Center is honored for its years of diverse artistic programming and for responding to the challenges of the pandemic with grace, never giving up on its mission to support and encourage the arts in the South Coast community. “Gualala Arts has set up online exhibitions, outdoor concerts, and kept art alive in our community even during the pandemic,” wrote one proponent. Another said: “Last year, with the rage of COVID and the closure of art centers, Gualala Arts reinvented itself by using low-cost tools to create an online platform for artists and to the community to discover their annual art in the sequoias (59e!) exhibit,… then dedicated resources to help artists make the transition to the Web,… (and) share this knowledge and experiences with other arts organizations.

Black Oak Coffee, the 2021 Business Arts Champion, is an award-winning local roaster who has supported over 100 community organizations making a difference in Mendocino County and beyond. In the words of their proponent, “They provide inviting and well-visited gallery space for free to local artists (and) have organized gallery exhibitions for advanced art students at Ukiah High School. It’s a place that feels like it belongs to young people as much as to anyone else in our community.

Blake More, winner in the Education category, elevates the teaching of art and poetry to rock star status for its students. She radiates energy and skill in a dizzying number of categories: literary arts, digital media, performing arts, fashion design, clothing construction, and more. She might arrive to lead a poetry aloud workshop in a dazzled art car, dressed in a handmade costume. She ignites a passion for high school poetry recitation year after year, evoking the dreams, hopes and feelings of students in classrooms across the county in original poetry.

Larry R. Wagner, this year’s champion of the arts in the individual patron category, “lives and breathes supporting the arts” according to its nominator. He has been a major donor, supporter and volunteer for the arts since moving to Fort Bragg in 1993. Larry paid for seating upgrades at Mendocino Theater Company and refitted an apartment for the Mendocino Art Center. He has donated thousands of hours over many years as a professional photographer for many local non-profit organizations including Redwood Symphony, MeCCA (Mendocino Center for Circus Arts), Flynn Creek Circus, Song of wine!, Mendocino Music Festival, and the Mendocino Film Festival. He published three volumes on Artists of the Mendocino Coast, and just completed the design of Lost and Found: Artists of Northern California blend, showcasing the work of eight assemblage artists from Mendocino County. Larry also mentored three high school students from Fort Bragg High School, was Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Mendocino Theater in 1996, was Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens from 1994 to 1997 and participated in the development and formation of the Alliance promotional campaign from Mendocino. He also consulted with the management team of the Mendocino Art Center to ensure his survival during the pandemic and teaches photography classes for the MAC and the Botanical Gardens of the Mendocino Coast.

MEDIUM gallery, a new exhibition space in Ukiah which presented its first exhibition, Prologue, in July 2021, received an honorable mention for the courage, determination and inclusive vision of its three founders: Chris Pugh (CCMA Board Member) Lillian Rubie and Meredith Hudson. In the words of their community proponent, “This group of residents of Inland Mendo have worked to achieve their goal of a new community space for artists of all skill levels and styles to share their work for free. Their gallery is welcoming and professional, and also accessible to emerging or not previously exhibited artists. They engage the community with stimulating calls for applications, and it’s great to have a new place for more art in Ukiah. The more voices we hear and see, the better!

The Mendocino County Champions of the Arts Awards are announced each October to coincide with National Arts and Humanities Month, a coast-to-coast celebration of culture in America. For more information about the Mendocino County Art Champion Awards and other Mendocino County Arts Council programs and services, visit www.artsmendocino.org or call 707-463-2727.


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