The Board of Directors for the Chewelah Performing and Cultural Arts Center (PACA) presented another evening of entertainment and local arts recognition with The EVENT 5’s 3rd Annual PACAwards on Feb. 25.
Fifteen acts were featured at the local show, interspersed between six award presentations. There were scenes performed from past and upcoming community shows, and, as a new addition for 2012, four local authors read excerpts from their published works.
Furthermore, this was the first year PACA encouraged each award recipient to make a short acceptance speech, which gave them an opportunity to thank the community for supporting them through the years.
Sharon Ludwig, PACA board president, and Janet McLaughlin, high school drama teacher and StageTime Theatre producer, presented Gail Churape with the 2011 Prestigious PACAward for over 20 years of dedication to children and community arts.
Churape has been one of three long-time costumers for StageTime Theatre School since it began 18 years ago. McLaughlin said she could not have continued without her commitment and could not say enough about how much she has done for the community.
“She’s a mover and a shaker, a doer; she gets the job done, and her glass is half full all the time,” McLaughlin said. “She’s a dreamer and helps dreams come true.”
Although Churape was absent for the evening, PACA filmed her acceptance speech with a montage of activities she has been involved in for so many years.
“It has been a pleasure to work with all the arts groups,” Churape said. “The dream of PACA needs to happen.”
As the first presenter of the night, Chris Carpenter, Gess Elementary music teacher, presented the Outstanding Dance Review of 2011 to Northern Ballet and Performing Arts. They also won the same award for their 2009 production.
“Thank you, I just love teaching in this community,” NBPA Director Anne Benedict said.
Aaron and Melanie Huff presented the PACAward for Outstanding Musical Performance of 2011 to the Gess Elementary Choir Christmas Tour. This was the first nomination for Gess Choir.
Carpenter accepted by thanking the community and all the kids in the choir and those grown up who she called “her extended family.”
Sean Taboloff and Kathleen Malcolm presented the PACAward for Outstanding Visual Arts Event of 2011 to the Chewelah Float, which has now won for the third year in a row.
Nina Nixon, Chewelah’s Distinguished Young Woman, accepted the award on behalf of Patsy Cotter who has helped design the float for over 25 years. This year’s theme was “Sweet as Candy.”
Nixon said it is always a lot of work to put the float together, and Cotter did a great job as she does every year.
“We are so lucky to have her in our community,” she said.
Nixon and her alternates, MaKayla Earl and Kathy Trudeau, also handed off each award trophy and winner’s envelope throughout the evening.
Richy Lainson and Carmen Sipes presented the PACAward for Outstanding Theatrical Performance of 2011 to the JHS Fall Musical: A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum.
JHS Senior Michael Barone accepted the award on behalf of his cast mates.
Also new for this year’s PACAwards was the PACAteer Award presented to an outstanding volunteer that Ludwig said has gone “above and beyond” in supporting PACA. Melissa Kirry is the first recipient of the new award for her dedication in making “PACAcorn” as a way to raise money for the organization at many community arts events.
“We will build a theatre in Chewelah one bag of popcorn at a time,” Kirry said.
The 2012 PACAward Featured Visual Artists were Patrick and Kamber Farneman from Bridges to the Past, a local non-profit organization focused on teaching primitive skills and local history to the community. The Farnemans displayed a collection of their work and were available during the event to talk about Bridges to the Past, as well as give people a chance to purchase items or sign up for upcoming classes.
The featured artists are also assigned to make something during the hour-long show to be auctioned as a fundraiser for PACA at the end of the evening. Patrick Farneman made a knife out of an obsidian blade, deer bone handle, and buckskin leather. It sold for $200. Kamber Farneman created a hand-stitched wool and coyote fur hat that sold for $90. The Farnemans also donated their part of the auction proceeds to PACA in support of the organization.
PACA Executive Director Don McLaughlin said The PACAwards is not just a fundraiser, but a way to bring awareness to the community to let everyone know that they are still around working towards their mission to create a cultural arts center for Chewelah. He said their emphasis is on getting an appropriate venue with proper equipment.
“We are not focused on bringing arts and culture to Chewelah, they are already here,” McLaughlin said.
PACA was able to show immediate progress in that mission by displaying newly acquired theatre seats at the PACAwards. Community Colleges of Spokane and Burton Construction (of Spokane) recently donated 50 nearly brand new seats to PACA because a classroom could not use them. Three of the seats were set on a temporary platform in the Chewelah Civic Center and PACA drew a name for someone to choose who would sit there while watching the show. All the seats are now in storage at the Community Celebrations building as PACA awaits the right venue.
By Kellie Trudeau, The Independent Staff
In this photo:
JHS Advanced Drama students do “The Time Warp” during the finale of the 2012 PACAwards. Jared Arnold photo