The Santa Barbara County Arts Commission’s announcement of this year’s Leadership in the Arts award took place at a festive celebration and holiday gathering in the Channing Peake Gallery during 1st Thursday in Downtown Santa Barbara on December 2. Chair Barbara Burger presented the Award on behalf of the Arts Commission to Kerry Methner and Mark Whitehurst.
Kerry Methner and Mark Whitehurst give new meaning to the term “Dynamic Duo.” Tireless volunteers in support of a wide variety of cultural and community groups, both share a passion for public art recognizing the vitality it brings to communities.
Through their commitments as editor and publisher respectively CASA Magazine has become an invaluable resource to the community on diverse cultural information, interviews and listings. As early supporters of 1st Thursday, Kerry and Mark dedicated CASA’s offices as space for exhibitions, poetry readings, and a variety of other cultural offerings. Year after year CASA supports the arts through generous sponsorships of a wide-variety of cultural organizations and events each year.
Methner and Whitehurst have brought their enthusiasm for sustaining and promoting Santa Barbara’s extraordinary riches of culture and natural and built environment in their service as past presidents on Santa Barbara Beautiful’s Board of Directors. And each has been instrumental in garnering increased support for Public Art and for progress on development of a Cultural Arts Masterplan.
When notified of the recognition, Methner and Whitehurst had this to say about the Award, “We are both honored and delighted to receive this award for the CASA team. It has been a pleasure to be caught up in and to support our arts community and to be one of its voices.”
Ginny Brush, Executive Director of the Arts Commission points out that “Over the years, the Leadership in Art award has given the Arts Commission an opportunity to shine a light on great achievements realized by exemplary citizens who through their vision, commitment, and dedication continue to sustain and strengthen our regional cultural arts, and increase access to arts for the residents of Santa Barbara County.”
The Leadership in the Arts Award was established in 2006 as an annual award to honor and recognize individuals or organizations that have made a significant impact on the arts and culture of our region through innovative thinking and exemplary commitment to promoting, sustaining, and advancing our quality of life through the Arts. Second District Supervisor Susan Rose was the first recipient of the Award. In 2007 Santa Maria artist, arts educator and long-time arts advocate Nat Fast was honored with the award. 2008 winners were Joe and Margie Talaugon, long-time Guadalupe residents for their commitment, community involvement and support for art and cultural activities through their development of the Guadalupe Cultural Arts & Education Center and last year Tina Fanucchi and Superintendent of Schools Bill Cirone were recognized for their long-time commitment and advocacy for arts education in schools.
The Arts Commission, established in 1977, is a 15-member panel with three representatives appointed by each of the five County District Supervisors.