ArtsQuest 2017 Linny Award Recipients

Steve Coleman, Allentown
Lifetime Achievement Artist Award 

This award celebrates an artist whose work in the arts symbolizes the highest level of excellence, commitment and achievement in his/her field over a period of 20 years or more. The award is presented annually to an individual who has made significant, longtime contributions to the visual, literary or performing arts. A nationally acclaimed saxophone player, Coleman has been called “the linear heir to the instrument’s greats, like Charlie Parker and John Coltrane.” In 2000 he received the Herb Alpert Award, and more recently he received one of America’s most prestigious awards, a MacArthur Fellowship. When he is not on tour, Coleman and his band offer free workshops and performances in low-income areas in the U.S. and abroad.

Dolores Laputka of Allentown
Lifetime Achievement Volunteer Award

Each year, countless individuals throughout the region generously donate their time and talents to make a difference in arts organizations, arts programs and scholastic art initiatives. This award recognizes one individual who has served in a volunteer leadership role in one or more arts organizations and whose hard work, dedication and passion for the arts have led to a significant difference for the organization(s) and our community. For nearly two decades Laputka has been involved with community and arts organizations throughout the Lehigh Valley. She currently serves as chair of the Board of Trustees of the Allentown Art Museum and has served as chairperson of the Board of Directors of the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley, assisting that organization in weathering the impact of the worldwide financial crisis.

Daniel Dae Kim
Pinnacle of the Arts Award

Each year the Linny Awards Committee may, at its discretion, offer this prestigious award to an individual who has lived or currently resides in the Lehigh Valley and has achieved national or international distinction in the visual, literary or performing arts. While the honoree may or may not be a resident of the Lehigh Valley, the individual will embody and recognize the importance that the Lehigh Valley has in nurturing the creative spirit. A graduate of Freedom High School, Kim is perhaps best known for his role as Chin Ho Kelly on the 2010 reboot of the classic TV show “Hawaii Five-0,” and as Jin Soo Kwon in the TV series “Lost.” He also played the King of Siam in Rogers & Hammerstein’s “The King and I” in London and on Broadway. Kim has received an AZN Asian Excellence Award, a Multicultural Prism Award, and a Vanguard Award from the Korean American Coalition, all for Outstanding Performance by an Actor.

Harry C. Trexler Trust
Philanthropy in the Arts Award

This award recognizes an individual, family or foundation that has made a major commitment to supporting multiple arts and cultural organizations or programs in the region, and through their work has truly enhanced access to the arts and the quality of life in our region. The Trexler Trust’s mandate is to improve the quality of life for citizens in Lehigh County. In 2016, the trust provided grants to regional bands and orchestras, public and private art schools, local theaters, and arts festivals.

Connexions Gallery, Easton
Small Business Supporter of the Arts 

This award is presented annually to a small business for dedication to and support of arts and culture in the region for five or more years. The award is given to a business that has a presence in, or does the majority of their business in, the region. Connexions is the oldest running art gallery in the Lehigh Valley. Along with showing the works of local artists and artisans, the gallery is renowned for offering free improvisational jazz and funk performances.

Lafayette Ambassador Bank, Bethlehem
Large Business Supporter of the Arts

This award is presented annually to a large business for dedication to and support of arts and culture in the region for five or more years. The award is given to a business that has a presence in, or does the majority of their business in, the region. Lafayette Ambassador Bank believes that it is crucial to give back to the community in ways that align with its core mission. It has generously supported ArtsQuest, as well as other arts organizations throughout the Lehigh Valley.

Martin Guitar, Nazareth
Excellence in Product Design

This award honors a Lehigh Valley-based business or corporation for the quality, innovation and creativity of its goods and products. C.F. Martin & Company produces what are considered the finest acoustic guitars in the world, prized for their optimum selection of tonewoods, as well as their consistent attention to handcrafted detail. Professional and amateur musicians in every musical genre use Martin guitars. Among those who have owned and played Martins are Elvis Presley, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Eric Clapton, Joan Baez, Johnny Cash, Gene Autry and Willie Nelson.

Alexandra Pobiedzinski, Allentown
Emerging Artist of the Year

This award honors an artist from 18 to 30 years of age who demonstrates excellence in his/her field. This award is designed to honor an up-and-coming artist or an artist who has had a breakthrough year, and through his or her work has contributed to the region’s culture and community in a very positive way. Pobiedzinski is an active performer, choreographer, teaching artist and executive director of the Lehigh Valley Dance Exchange (LVDE). With LVDE she created and manages the Dance Exposure at SteelStacks and the SpringUp Dance Festival, which is the only professional dance festival in the Lehigh Valley. Pobiedzinski’s award-winning choreography has been featured at festivals in Philadelphia and New York City.

Bria Pickel, Allentown
Student Artist Scholarship Award

This $2,500 award goes to a high school junior or senior in the region who demonstrates significant talent and promise in the visual, literary, or performing arts and is looking to pursue a degree in arts, art therapy, arts education, or arts administration. Pickel, a 2017 graduate of the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts, is described as “standing out in a school of exceptional students.” Her work is a mix of oil, watercolor, pencil and collage, with a focus on the repetitive patterns in line and shape within the subject matter. Pickel plans to study painting and fine arts, and museum and gallery practices, at Pratt Institute in New York in the fall.

Richard Shemonsky
Arts Educator of the Year

This award is dedicated to a Lehigh Valley-based educator, teaching artist or arts administrator who has made a profound impact on students and/or the community through his or her work in the arts. This award is open to any individual working with students in preschool, kindergarten, elementary, middle or high school. Affectionately known as “Shu,” Shemonsky has been an arts educator for 42 years and is currently head of Parkland High School’s Visual Arts Department. He has an exceptional skill for finding the unique talent in his students and then helping them advance in both their education and life.

Emil Lukas, Stockertown
Visual Artist of the Year

This award is for two- and three-dimensional visual arts, as well as designers of fashion, musical instruments, furniture and other handcrafted works. Lukas is a process-oriented artist who describes his works as a cross between painting and sculpture. He is perhaps best known for his “thread paintings,” which are shallow wooden trays over which he crisscrosses thread to create complex, glowing color fields. Lukas has exhibited in shows and museums across the country and around the world including the Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland; the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California.

Walt Groller, Whitehall
Performing Artist of the Year

This award recognizes a Lehigh Valley performing artist whose work symbolizes excellence in its field. This category includes but is not limited to theater, film, dance and other forms of performance art, animation, comedy, music, as well as literary art, playwrights, and screenwriters. An accomplished accordion player and band leader, Groller has been providing entertainment in the Lehigh Valley and beyond for more than seven decades. He was inducted into the International Polka Hall of Fame in 1986, received a Grammy nomination in 1988 and has been a regular at Musikfest since 1984.

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