ECCOTA presents ‘Heart in the Arts’ awards at gala

ST. MARYS - Elk County Council on the Arts (ECCOTA) presented awards to individuals who have contributed to the arts in Elk County at the organization’s annual gala Saturday evening. The Monte Carlo-themed event was held at the Diamond View Restaurant in St. Marys. Abbi Peters, ECCOTA executive director, said this is the first year the awards have been presented. Titled “Heart in the Arts,” the awards were founded based on ECCOTA’s mission statement and were designed to “honor organizations and individuals for providing experience, opportunity and support.” “There’s no way that we could do that by ourselves. So we wanted to recognize the people who have helped make that happen to support the arts in Elk County and who hopefully will continue to make that happen,” Peters said.The Stackpole-Hall Foundation was named as the 2011 honoree for providing opportunities for area residents to experience the arts. Peters said the Stackpole-Hall Foundation has been instrumental in helping to sustain and grow ECCOTA. “Since the beginning, they’ve helped with not only financial support, but also structural support,” Peters said.Dr. William C. Conrad, executive director of the Stackpole-Hall Foundation, said he and the foundation were very proud to be able to support ECCOTA. Area artist and teacher Grover Slater received the award for providing educational opportunity. Slater has been active in the community for many years as an artist and educator, and Peters said he also served as the first president of ECCOTA, which was founded in 1984 and was known at that time as the “Artists League of Elk County.” Slater and ECCOTA summer intern Derek Bauer were featured as “dueling artists” at the gala. Using a floral arrangement as the subject, they were given 30 minutes to create a still life of the arrangement. Their finished pieces were then auctioned off, with the proceeds benefitting ECCOTA.