Tribune-Courier News Reporter
The Marshall County Arts Center came down the home stretch with the big money at Friday night’s Race to the Finish event at Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park. The 220 guests of the Derby-themed event learned the Kentucky General Assembly has awarded a quarter million dollar grant for use at the Children’s Art Center.
Guests at the event, Will Coursey, State Representative of House District 6, and State Senator from District 2 Bob Leeper, presented a $250,000 check to the Arts Commission Board after the formal dinner and other award presentations.
“We were just the instruments – this money was in and out of the state budget several times,” Coursey said. “This group (the Marshall County Arts Commission) is the most competent group of individuals, but when you put them together there is nothing they can’t accomplish. You are the ones that got the money for that center.”
Coursey said it was the group’s efforts in Marshall County and their visits to Frankfort that pushed legislators to leave the money in the budget for the Children’s Art Center.
Ann Riley, coordinator of the event and president elect of the Arts Commission, said the money was so much more than they could have hoped to raise by themselves.
“We had about 220 guests on Friday and after ticket sales and the auction our proceeds will end up totaling between $15,500 and $16,000,” she said. “$250,000 is going to do so much more that we weren’t going to be able to afford yet. We might consider the lighting system at the arts center or the sound system – the big-ticket items. It’s a windfall.”
Riley said the event wasn’t solely a fundraising event though; it was also a way to recognize individuals who had contributed heavily to the arts in Marshall County.
Those recognized for outstanding contributions to Marshall County Arts programs included Patty Coakley, 2013 president of the Arts Commission, named 2013’s Outstanding Artist, Citizen and Educator.
The Outstanding Artist Award was given to Gwen Moss, a local photographer who owns her own professional studio in Benton.
Coakley announced the Outstanding Educator of the Year Award was given to Brant Veal for his work with the Marshall County High School choir and the band at South Marshall Middle School and the Outstanding Citizen Award was given Mac McDonald for his effort in helping the county raise almost $30,000 for a canopy on the side of the Children’s Art Center. The Kentucky Colonel award, made by the sitting Governor, was also given to McDonald for his community service work in Marshall County.
Riley said Marshall County was blessed to have so many people that contribute to the arts and was looking forward to what the next few months would bring in regard to the Children’s Art Center.