MOUNT MORRIS — For those who knew Paula Henry she was an artist, friend, and inspiration.
To honor her dedication to the arts and world peace the Genesee Valley Council on the Arts awarded their first ever
Peace Award to artist Jerry Alonzo. Alonzo’s mixed media piece entitled “One Less Gun #1” was the winner.
“Paula was a member for years and years and helped to research the New Deal exhibit,” GVCA Executive Director Betsy Harris said. “We thought this would be a good time to honor her since she was part of the members exhibits.”
The Livingston Arts changed their name back to Genesee Valley Council on the Arts to reach more artists outside of the area, and since that was the original name for 40 years.
There were 34 members who participated in the 2018 Members Exhibit Freedom of Expression.
“We have enough money in our budget to keep this peace award going in Paula Henry’s name for at least 10 years,”
Harris said. “We want to make this her legacy every year.”
Alonzo was tickled pink to be the first recipient of the Peace Award.
“This is a very special award,” he said. “I knew Paula as a librarian, artist, and very good friend. She was a special person. This really makes me feel marvelous.”
“It is a huge honor to make something that Paula would have liked,” Alonzo continued. “It tickles me pink.”
Richard Engelbrecht chose to showcase a recent winter photo of Letchworth State Park and the Balloons over Letchworth.
“I love being over at Letchworth State Park and Stony Brook,” he said. “I live very close to the Letchworth State Park.”
Engelbrecht said the art council is right over the hill, and always has very nice clientele.
“The theme was peace and tranquility, so I wanted to chase that theme with my new work,” he said. “It is amazing to see all the local talent here.”
Sarah Canfield is a new member and artist at the art council.
“I had to come up with something that would fit the exhibit,” she said. “I was never good at using oils on canvas, so I just placed my handprints on the canvas.”
The work is entitled “I don’t have to be perfect.”
Canfield said this is personal to her since she has dealt with those situations in her life.
Beth Sleboda did scarfs in the theme of summer and the memories you get.
“The scarfs inspire summer woods, fields, and the sky,” she said. “Each one of them takes me to a good memory. They keep me centered.”
Sleboda said she uses her art to perform and as therapy.
“Scarfs keep someone warm, use them to remember moments of love, and give them thoughts of summer,” she said. “The meaning can be used in a variety of ways.”
Bernard Dick is working on a family series that takes his loved ones to the canvas.
“I started out with my wife and kids,” he said. “Now I am working on my grandparents, parents, and siblings.”
Dick is better known for his work on travel images, and they have been seen all over.
“I see snapshots taken of my family and I like them,” he said. “I did one of my brother who passed away when I was one-year-old. I never got to know him. He was shot to death in school by accident during gun club.”
“I lost another brother (John) of a heart attack when he was in eighth grade,” Dick continued. “He had a bad heart condition, and was wrestling with the neighbor’s boy. I came home and watched from my bedroom window, and I didn’t understand what was happening. I remember John well.”
Dick said that after all of these years he wants to focus on the family series.
“In the twilight of your life you go back to preserve the moments in your past before or after you were born,” he said. “I work on people I know and I get concerned about the likeness, but if I never knew them, or focus on an image before my time it takes the pressure off.”
Genesee Valley Citizens for Peace member Holly Adams talked about the legacy Paula Henry left behind.
“We are grateful to be here to give the first Peace Award in honor of Paula Henry,” she said. “This is to honor our friend of over 40 years. She envisioned a world full of peace. She wanted a world without weapons. She used art to interpret that concept.”
“More than anything peace needs to be part of the conversation in the most urgent way,” Adams continued. “Paula was a true artist and seeker. She was a seeker of knowledge, a better world in art, and to achieve peace. In order to be a better world we need to be like Paula. We all miss her.”
Alonzo mentioned that his art was to reflect his father who was in the army, and how he never saw them as violent until recently.
The 2018 Members Exhibit will be available for viewing Feb. 15 to March 17. They are located on 4 Murray Hill Drive in Mount Morris. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday, 11a.m. to 4p.m. and Saturday 11a.m. to 3p.m. Also open by appointment.Contact them at (585) 243-6785.
Freedom of Expression artists; Jerry Alonzo, Elaine Bennett, Kim Binaghi Lee, Mark Callichia, Sarah Canfield, Middle Carr, Joshua Coon, Leah Coon, Cindy Costa, Jennifer DeVille Catalano, Bernard Dick, Richard Engelbrecht, Terry Finch, Benjamin Gajewski, Dan Heale, Leslie Heen, Trisha Koomen, Nancy Laemlein, Jacquelyn Meacham, Louise Michaud, Carole Missel, David Missel, Melissa Moody, Kathleen Morrisey, Carol Nickol, Charles Nitsche, Jean Pierce, Beth Sleboda, Julia Stewart, David Thelen, Ted Weatherbee, Bill White, Laura Wilder and Paula Henry.