Ceremony salutes distinguished Westport artists
Updated 11:33 am, Monday, October 22, 2012
The 19th annual Westport Arts Awards celebration honored talented people from Westport and Weston whose careers have enriched the lives of local residents through the arts in all forms.
Honorees at Sunday's event in Town Hall, ranged from those whose accomplishments have barely scratched the surface of their talents to those who have left a significant mark on their particular discipline over a lifetime. Ten people were honored posthumously, including "Catcher in the Rye" author J.D. Salinger who lived in Westport when the novel was published in 1951.
Sadly, one man who was meant to attend the celebration to accept an award had to be honored posthumously. Frank Jacoby, a veteran of the Golden Age of television, died Thursday of a heart attack. He was 87. He and his wife of 66 years, Doris Storm Jacoby, had been selected to receive the Lifetime Achievement award for Film and New Media. Their son Bruce Jacoby received the honor on their behalf.
An emotional John Simon said it was not just Frank and Doris Jacoby's achievements in television and as volunteers with the library, senior center and Bridgeport schools that made them worthy of the award but also their love for life, which they elevated to an art form. They brought their joy of life to the world around them, he said.
Three emerging artists were singled out for Horizon awards for their promise and contributions so far. "It must be something in the water," said First Selectman Gordon Joseloff of the amount of talent that has studied at Staples High School alone.
Joseloff read to an audience of about 200 people some of the accomplishments of Tyler Hicks, a 1988 graduate of Staples, who has amassed an impressive list of credits as a photojournalist for the New York Times, including a shared 2009 Pulitzer Prize for coverage in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
"He has an eye for people, agony, drama, for sympathy ... He's taken some excellent pictures," Joseloff said.
Hicks, who was among four journalists captured by the Libyan government in March 2010 and held for six days -- along with Lynsey Addario (Staples Class of 1999) -- was unable to attend the honors program. Sine he is currently on assignment in Kenya, his mother Julie Hicks accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award for Visual Arts on his behalf. In a video message Tyler Hicks said, "Being included connects me to my roots."
Nicholas Britell was honored with a Horizon Award for Music. He is a composer, pianist and producer who recently finished the score for the film "Gimme the Loot" by Adam Leon which won the Grand Jury Prize at SXSW in March 2012. Britell said what he finds most fascinating about his work is the ability to incorporate new technologies and many genres of music.
Leslye Headland's acceptance speech for the Horizon Award for Theater was worthy of the comedic script she wrote for the current film "Bachelorette," starring Kirsten Dunst. She talked about unleashing her desire to become a filmmaker "on an unsuspecting public," and thanked her two siblings for performing
Following is the complete list of awards:
Peter Duchan, film and theater: Duchan co-wrote the screenplay and was associate producer for "Breaking Upwards," a film that premiered at South by Southwest in 2009 and was released by IFC Films in 2010.
Nicholas Britell, music: Britell is a composer, pianist and producer who recently finished the score for the film "Gimme the Loot" by Adam Leon which won the Grand Jury Prize at SXSW in March 2012.
Leslye Headland, theater: Headland is a New York-based playwright, screenwriter and director whose theater experience includes: "Bachelorette" (Second Stage), "Assistance" (Playwrights Horizons) and the rest of the Seven Deadly Plays series: "Cinephilia," "Surfer Girl," "Reverb" and "The Accidental Blonde."
Mary-Lou Weisman, literature: Weisman, of Westport, is the author of four books, a screenplay, and numerous nonfiction articles and essays that have been published in The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, The New Republic, Newsweek, and The Atlantic, for which she won an award.
Doris Goltzer, music: , Goltzer, who held the position of solo English horn player with the New York City Opera for over 50 years until her recent retirement, lived in Westport for many years and still maintains a teaching studio there.
Jak Kovatch, art: Kovatch, a longtime Westport resident and former faculty member of The Famous Artists School, has been recognized nationally and internationally since 1949 when he first exhibited at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Frank Jacoby (posthumously) and Doris Storm, film and new media: Jacoby, a veteran of the "Golden Age" of television, helped put Channel 13 WATV on the air in 1948 and was soon hired by NBC as a network director. Storm, Jacoby's business partner in Jacoby/Storm Productions a wife for 66 years, worked in early television as a writer, performer, and co-producer with her husband and, on her own, as the TV spokeswoman for many companies.
Anne Keefe, theater: Keefe, artistic advisor at the Westport Country Playhouse, was previously co-chairwoman of the Artistic Advisory Council with Joanne Woodward as well as associate artistic director with her from 2000 to 2006 and interim artistic director with her in 2008.
Tyler Hicks, visual arts and photography: Hicks, a 1988 Staples High School graduate, is a staff photographer for The New York Times who has documented conflict in Kosovo, Chechnya, Congo, Ethiopia, Syria, Libya, Sudan, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Champion of the Arts
The award was created in 2006 to recognize contributions of those whose ongoing efforts have made a difference in the vitality and success of the arts in the community.
The award was founded in 2009 in honor of volunteer Mollie Donovan, the award's first recipient.
In addition, the Westport Arts Awards Committee also planned to present six Heritage Awards in the memory of Westport artists community who have died in the past year or have not yet been honored.
The honorees included:
Oboist Albert Goltzer; caricaturist David Levine; author J.D. Salinger; graphic designer Paul Rand; art critic Hilton Kramer; concert pianist Natalie Maynard; painter Arlene Skutch; arts promoter Marianne Liberatore; Broadway producer and director Burry Fredrik; and actor and playwright Jerome Kilty.
The committee established the Westport Arts Awards to recognize the accomplishments of past and present artists with ties to the town, in the fields of literature, music, theater and the visual arts.
Since its founding in 1994, the committee has presented awards to more than 150 individual Westport and Weston artists for their careers in music, theater, film and new media, visual arts and literature.