Art Gala: 2017

by Kaitlyn Tyra

An excited buzz could be heard within the Gaertner Performing Arts Center.  People dressed in a multitude of colors filed in one by one and the murmur of a pleasant chatter could be heard in the background of the well-decorated lobby.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Art Department, Michael Henderson, Daryl Howard, Nancy Gaertner, Art Department Gala

The time had come for SHSU’s thriving art community to gather for their premier annual event: the SHSU Art Gala.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Art Department, Michael Henderson, Daryl Howard, Nancy Gaertner, Art Department Gala

A LEAP favorite, the Art Gala not only serves as a means to meet and greet people, but it also raises money for SHSU Art Scholarships while honoring outstanding alumni and community members that contribute to the success of the Art Department.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Art Department, Michael Henderson, Daryl Howard, Nancy Gaertner, Art Department Gala

The evening began with a reception where we visited with faculty members, community members, and the evening’s award winners. We were pleasantly surprised to find many of the former heART of Huntsville participants including Ms. Una Grace Nash, Dr. and Mrs. Pease, Dr. and Mrs. Gaertner, Dr. Mitzi Mahoney, and Roberta Plant, as well as other members of the community such as former mayor Mac Woodward.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Art Department, Michael Henderson, Daryl Howard, Nancy Gaertner, Art Department Gala

Dr. Michael Henderson, the Chair of the Art Department, greeted attendees and began the program with remarks before serving dinner.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Art Department, Michael Henderson, Daryl Howard, Nancy Gaertner, Art Department Gala

The three- course meal was marked with conversation about art, SHSU’s art program, and the impact the alumni had made. Dr. Henderson then presented two awards honoring two very special people.

First, he presented Daryl Howard with the Outstanding Alumna Award.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Art Department, Michael Henderson, Daryl Howard, Nancy Gaertner, Art Department Gala

Graduating from SHSU in 1969, Daryl Howard moved to Tokyo to teach at an overseas art school where she was introduced to Ukiyo-e woodcuts from the 18th and 19th Century. These woodcuts peaked her interest and she began an apprenticeship with master printmaker, Hodaka Yoshida.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Art Department, Michael Henderson, Daryl Howard, Nancy Gaertner, Art Department Gala

However, this was only the beginning of Howard’s career as we had the privilege of learning. There were many professors that Ms. Howard learned from who were skilled artists. People such as Charles Pebworth, Gaddis Geeslin, Stanley Lea, among others. Her speech was one of gratitude for the opportunities presented to her at Sam Houston and the lessons learned from her many mentors.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Art Department, Michael Henderson, Daryl Howard, Nancy Gaertner, Art Department Gala

The second award winner, Mrs. Nancy Gaertner, was honored for Outstanding Supporter of the Arts.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Art Department, Michael Henderson, Daryl Howard, Nancy Gaertner, Art Department Gala

As former First Lady of Sam Houston, she worked tirelessly on the development and creation of our performing arts center for the College of Fine Arts and Mass Communication. Although she is no longer the First Lady of Sam Houston, she is the current President of the Friends of the Wynne Board and stays active in Huntsville’s art community.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Art Department, Michael Henderson, Daryl Howard, Nancy Gaertner, Art Department Gala

Having worked closely with her, the LEAP Ambassadors were excited to see Mrs. Gaertner honored for her commitment and support of the arts.

Following the awards presentation, we posed for a few photographs with the honorees…

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Art Department, Michael Henderson, Daryl Howard, Nancy Gaertner, Art Department Gala

…and said our thanks to the many wonderful people who support our Art Department. It was a fun night and a great way to support the local art community!

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Art Department, Michael Henderson, Daryl Howard, Nancy Gaertner, Art Department Gala

 

Honoring Sacrifice: HEARTS Veterans Day Gala, 2017

For the tenth time in ten years, the LEAP Ambassadors assisted with the annual HEARTS Veterans Gala.  More than 300 community members gathered at the HEARTS Conference Center for dinner, reflection, and companionship on November 11, Veterans Day.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, HEARTS Veterans Museum, Veterans Day Gala

The event MC was Col. Don Beal…

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, HEARTS Veterans Museum, Veterans Day Gala

…and the Huntsville Men’s Choir was featured throughout the evening.  They performed six songs, including everyone’s favorite, “The Armed Forces Medley.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, HEARTS Veterans Museum, Veterans Day Gala

The LEAP Ambassadors greeted guests, assisted guests with seating, sponsored a table, and assisted with the silent auction, which raises money for ROTC scholarships.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, HEARTS Veterans Museum, Veterans Day Gala

During the evening, the HEARTS Museum staff honored various community members and volunteers for their service, including Karen Murff…

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, HEARTS Veterans Museum, Veterans Day Gala

…Norman Ward, Dr. Tommy Davis, Betty Higgins, and John Sicola…

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, HEARTS Veterans Museum, Veterans Day Gala

reinforcing the community aspect of the gathering.

And, speaking of which, it was enjoyable for us to see old friends, such as County Judge Danny Pierce, Judge Hal Ridley, Thomas Leeper…

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, HEARTS Veterans Museum, Veterans Day Gala

…Captain Steve Fisher, Charlotte Olienik, Liesa Hackett, Bette Nelson, and many others.

It was a nice reminder the sacrifice made by our veterans and the important role of volunteerism in our community.