2015 Macon Arts Alliance Cultural Awards and Annual Meeting

Macon Arts Alliance cordially invites you to the Cultural Awards and Annual Meeting on Thursday, October 29 beginning at 6:00 p.m. at the Historic Douglass Theatre in Downtown Macon. The annual meeting will feature a short presentation about the accomplishments of the arts alliance over this past year and an overview of plans for the future.
Beverly Blake, Craig Burkhalter, Sammy and Annie Dame, Friends of Tattnall Square Park, Sean Pritchard, Stephen Reichert, and Laura Voss will be honored with 2015 Cultural Awards. Maryel Battin will be honored with a Rosalyn Elkan Lifetime Achievement Award. The Cultural Awards are presented by Macon Arts Alliance to honor those citizens who have made significant contributions to the arts and cultural community. A reception will immediately follow the awards presentation with music provided by students of Mercer University’s Townsend School of Music from the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings, featuring Reed Sarasua, double bass, Sarasota, Florida, and Harry Ward, violin, Sydney, Australia.
Beverly Blake joined the Knight Foundation in December 2004. Prior to that, she served as senior vice president and senior charitable advisor at Wachovia Bank (now Wells Fargo) in Atlanta, where she oversaw six private foundations. A graduate of West Virginia University and the American Bankers’ Association National Graduate Trust School, Blake is a recipient of the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award and a member of the Downtown Macon Rotary Club. She is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Community Foundation of Central Georgia, the Georgia Cities Foundation and the Board of Trust of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Georgia.
Craig Burkhalter is a life-long resident of Macon. He is third of four generations to graduate from Lanier/Central High School. His father was a printer for the Macon Telegraph and News and his earliest memories are of presses running and the smell of ink. He has had a long career of teaching on the high school (Southeast, Hutchings and Westside) and college level (Middle Georgia State College) in Macon. He has conducted workshops for the Museum of Arts and Sciences, Mercer University, Girl Scouts, Georgia Theatre Conference, Middle Georgia Art Association and others. Craig’s primary medium is printmaking. Thematically he vacillates between hard line political and social statements (often with a sense of humor) to more formal concerns of the elements and principles of art. 
Sammy and Annie Dame are a power couple, and it is rare to ever see one without the other. Their goal is to “educate” the community about the arts and, particularly, to get young people involved or introduced to the performing arts. Although their main emphasis has been on Macon’s performing arts, the Dames support Warner Robins Little Theatre, as well as other Central Georgia community theaters. They give generous support to Meals on Wheels, Ronald McDonald House, and the Daybreak Ministries. “Our emphasis is more than cultural…our emphasis is to build a better community. Yes, it is the arts, but it is more than the arts. It is about a better community of well-rounded citizens. When we are actively involved with cultural venues, we are present…we are not just check writers,” stated Annie.
Friends of Tattnall Square Park brings together neighbors, donors, and city partners in order to make historic Tattnall Square a beautiful, well-maintained, and dynamic public space for everyone. They believe public parks are a measure of our commitment to one another and invite the community to volunteer, donate, and make a difference with them. Friends of Tattnall Square Park was established in 2011 to help restore, preserve, and promote historic Tattnall Square Park. Since its establishment, Friends of Tattnall Square Park has helped raise more than $600,000 of donations for the park, guided the park’s full restoration, and helped supervise thousands of hours of volunteer labor in the park.
Sean Pritchard has been passionate about arts and entertainment in Middle Georgia since working as a partner in the Macon Venue Project during his junior year in high school. After high school, Sean went on to work with various bands around the Southeast before returning to Macon to book and promote live music as a partner of TheBlueIndian.com, Georgia’s Indie Music Hub. During the last five years, Sean has been active as a regular contributor to The 11th Hour, a Bragg Jam Music Festival Board Member, and as a volunteer with Macon Film Festival, Weaver’s Weekend, Macon Octoberfest, and more. More recently, Sean was employed as the Director of Programing & Festival Process for the International Cherry Blossom Festival, where he worked from early 2012 until April of 2015. Sean currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee, where he attends Belmont University as a student of their Liberal Studies Program where he is focusing on Music Business and Entertainment Industry Studies. Macon will always be his home.
Stephen Reichert is a native of Macon. A product of public schools, he graduated from Lanier High School in 1961 and then graduated from Emory University in 1965. He volunteered for the U.S. Naval Reserve and spent two years as Communications Officer aboard the U.S.O,. Alacrity. Returning to Macon after the service, he worked for Suntrust Bank for several years before moving to New York City in 1976. While in New York, he volunteered for the Central Park Conservancy, the English Speaking Union and other non-profits. He retired in 2008 and returned to Macon and purchased the home his parents’ built and in which he and his two brothers, Albert and Robert, were raised. Since returning to Macon, he has volunteered for several organizations including the Museum of Arts and Sciences, the Hay House, the Middle Georgia Concert Association, the Vineville Neighborhood Association, Middle Georgia State University and as President for the State Botanical Garden of Georgia in Athens.
Laura Voss, co-owner of the Academy of the Performing Arts, has served as a band director, music director, instructor, composer and arranger for area schools, theatres and civic organizations. Ms. Voss has performed as a show percussionist for countless theatre productions and has served as musical director for nearly 100 musical theatre shows. With the exception of the three years spent founding the A.P.A., she has been the band director at Stratford Academy since 1983. One of the highlights of her years at Stratford has been working to create the Georgia Independent School Association All Select Band, Orchestra, and Chorus event. Together with Sylvia Haynie, she authored two original works, Traditions and a new adaptation of Alice in Wonderland. She also frequently works as a band and percussion clinician and adjudicator for events sponsored by the Georgia Independent School Association, The Georgia Music Educators Association, and the Georgia High School Association.
Maryel Battin was educated in Britain, South Africa, Canada, and attended Sarah Lawrence College, in Bronxville, N.Y. After college, she worked for Parke Bernet Galleries, later Sotheby’s, in the antique furniture and decorative arts department. With her family she moved to Macon in 1973 and purchased property in InTown Macon, where they came involved in both InTown Macon Neighborhood Association and Macon Heritage Foundation. After the Hay House was donated to the Georgia Trust, she identified and recorded its collection of furnishings and decorative arts. From 1984 to 2000 she was Executive Director of Macon Heritage Foundation.
She is presently a historic preservation consultant to architects, developers, and owners of historic buildings assisting them with applications for financial incentives for rehabilitation. She is a former vice chairman of Macon-Bibb County Urban Development Authority and former member of the Georgia National Register Review Board. She is the recipient of the Mary Gregory Jewett award from the Georgia Trust and Woman of Achievement award from Career Women’s Network. The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution awarded her the Historic Preservation Medal.