The 11th Annual Acknowledge The Arts gala, one of the most important fundraising events, honored three local residents Saturday and featured a silent auction of artworks by local artists.
City Council Member Clarence Shaw, photographer Doug Gordon, and MHS senior Evan Cook all received awards at the gala for their contributions to the local arts scene.
“This is an important night for us at MAFA to recognize members of our city who have supported the Arts throughout the year,” said Bill Beebe, president of MAFA. “These three people have done a lot to help keep art alive in the city and in our schools."
City Manager Scott Ochoa, last year's recipient of the Renaissance Award--given to a person who has been instumental in furthering the arts in Monrovia--presented this year's award to Councilman Clarence Shaw.
“His goal as a city council member has been to bring people together through the arts," Ochoa said. "Clarence has always been all about service, all about creating value, all about leaving something better than when we saw it."
Ochoa further quoted T.E. Lawrence, saying of Shaw: “The dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible. Clarence Shaw is one of those men.”
In accepting the award, Shaw stated that there is a “nexus between arts and scholastic achievement” and went on to praise MAFA for it’s efforts to keep the arts in local schools.
“We want to have world class schools for world class students and the arts are fundamental in this,” Shaw said.
In presenting the next award, , owner of , said local photographer Doug Gordon, helped move MAFA into the 21st Century by creating and maintaining MAFA’s website and digitizing MAFA’s records.
“Doug has been instrumental in moving MAFA forward, “ Barrios said. “He keeps all of us artists on the level.”
Gordon was modest in his reply.
“I’m happy to be part of MAFA for the last 10 years, and only too happy to help this great organization,” Gordon said.
Gordon went on to make a surprise presentation to for her support of the arts in . Gordon is know for his large format photographs of local landmarks. He and MAFA gave Wagner a six-foot long picture of Monrovia High’s distinctive main building. Wagner, who just moments before had been asking how she could buy the photo, was elated.
Wagner was the next presenter and announced that senior Evan Cook would be the recipient of the inaugural Student Artist of the Year.
"When I first came to Monrovia, I was at the high school, and was having his annual sale of student ceramics. I spotted Evan’s work and have bought several over the last year," Wagner said. "His work is immediately recognizable."
Cook praised MAFA and Barrios in his acceptance speech and Barrios for supporting him.
"MAFA has helped me so much to grow as a person, as an artist, and as a citizen of Monrovia," Cook said.
The Student Artist of the Year award was instituted by MAFA to honor local young people for their skill and commitment to the arts.
“I’m proud to be the first recipient of this award, we’re just starting to realize the potential of a small community,” Cook said.