Local couple honored as Outstanding Patrons of the Arts

May 29, 2013

The Portsmouth Area Arts Council and Children’s Theatre will host “A Town and Its Artists: Award for Creative and Artistic Excellence” on Saturday, June 8 at the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts. In a special series of articles exclusive to the Daily Times, we will explore each of the honorees and their contributions to the Portsmouth Art Community.

“Patron: a person chosen, named, or honored as a special guardian, protector, or supporter” as defined by the Merriam Webster dictionary.

When the Portsmouth Area Arts Council and Children’s Theatre began planning for a series of community arts awards, Patron of the Arts was one of the first categories that came to mind. Artists, theatres, galleries, museums and other arts organizations require a lot of hard work and support to be successful. Even those who are self-sustaining require the work of volunteers and benefactors to continue their programming.

PAAC defined its ideal Patron of the Arts as “an individual, couple or family that, over time, has sustained and enhanced the arts in the community through contributions of time, effort or financial resources.”

When the nomination for Chris and Marilyn Lute came in, it immediately stood out.

Marilyn has served on the Community Concert Board before it merged with Shawnee State University and became the Southern Ohio Performing Arts Association (SOPAA), to which she remains a member today. You can often find her in the lobby of the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts, either attending a performance, on her way to a board meeting or stuffing envelopes.

In the early 2000s, Marilyn also served on the PAAC board in many capacities including secretary, program selection committee, visual art program planner and even usher for children’s events.

“American Savings Bank is proud to sponsor this award for Chris and Marilyn. Not only is Chris a member of our board, but is a valued member of the community. Their work for the arts is unparalled,” Bob Smith, president and CEO, said.

Marilyn’s husband, Chris, has served as president of the Southern Ohio Museum and Cultural Center for two years but has been a board member since 1990. Chris can be found on many days at the museum where he is co-chairing the alley renovation project resulting in substantial savings by alleviating the need to hire a contract manager.

Chris and Marilyn have opened their home to arts fundraisers and are always supportive of the on-going efforts to sustain the arts community in Portsmouth.

“Chris and Marilyn are such gracious patrons of the arts, working hard and donating their time and resources to the many organizations that make up Portsmouth’s Art Community,” Becky Lovins, PAAC director said.

“A Town and Its Artists” is inspired by an art festival of the same name that the Arts Council held in 1968. The original “A Town and Its Artists” was a community-wide celebration of the arts giving the artists in town the opportunity to showcase their work.

“The idea behind the event is not a new one to PAAC,” Becky Lovins, executive director, said. “PAAC has over the years tried to reach out to the art community through our strategic values of collaboration and partnership. The awards we will present to these groups and individuals help bring to the forefront the excellence Portsmouth has that is equal and even surpasses many communities equal to or greater in size.”

Three levels of tickets are available for the evening celebration on June 8. Patrons may purchase $50 VIP tickets which will include priority seating, listing in the evening’s program and a ticket to the reception following the event with the evening’s honorees.

$25 patron tickets will include a program listing and $10 tickets will also be available.

Tickets are currently on sale at the McKinley Box Office 740-351-3600 and can also be purchased at ticketmaster online.

For more information about the ACE Awards, please contact Becky Lovins at 740-351-3642 or at paac@shawnee.edu.