Jordan River Arts Council honors artists and patron of arts

Four special people were lauded for their contributions to the arts and to the mission of the Jordan River Arts Council during the Annual Meeting on Sunday, Sept. 13.

Honorees included Betty Beeby (in memoriam), Peggy Midener, Don Smith and Bonnie Staffel.

The meeting took place on the new patio and in native plant garden area at the arts council in East Jordan.

Bonnie Staffel and Don Smith and family attended along with approximately 50 arts council members.

• Betty Beeby who passed away in August was remembered for her dedication to the next generation of artists.
She provided, through the Arts Council, 22 scholarships to high school graduates wanting to continue their education in the arts.
More than the monetary amounts of the awards, Betty inspired the scholarship recipients by personally meeting with each of them.
Her lifelong accomplishments as an artist, her exuberant personality and her passion for the artistic life influenced many through the years.

• Longtime Jordan River Arts Council supporter, Peggy Midener was recognized for her wise contributions as a board member for both JRAC and the Crooked Tree Arts Council as well as for her career as an artist and faculty member of the Center for Creative Studies.
It was announced that Midener has been designated as Board Member Emeritus for the Jordan River Arts Council.

• Board Members expressed their gratitude to Mr. Don Smith for his generous gift of the new patio area at JRAC given in memory of his artist wife Connie.
When completed, this lovely area in front of the Arts Center will provide a place for people to gather in quiet contemplation or as a space for events such as the ice cream social that preceded Sunday’s meeting.

• Artist Bonnie Staffel, who 50 years ago established one of the first artist studios in the area and was influential in the development of the arts culture of Northwest Michigan, was also celebrated.
Bonnie is a nationally known potter whose works in stoneware and porcelain are held in many collections.
She has been a teacher and arts school administrator and continues to make pottery in her home in Charlevoix.

The regular business meeting then followed with the election of board members: Sharon Gardner, Karen Kimmell, Yasmin Richmond, Karen Walker, Sylvia Walworth to three year terms and Katie Mcleod to fulfill a vacancy until 2017.

They join existing board members Nancy Carey, Jane Diller, Howard Ellis, Nelson Ogden, John Stevens, Cynthia Tschudy, Barbara Young, and Judy Wagner-Worgess.