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Sen. Patrick Browne Sen. Patrick Browne
Dennis Razze Dennis Razze
Oakes Fegley Oakes Fegley

Arts Ovation Awards honors eight

Friday, March 17, 2017 by The Press in Focus

The Allentown Arts Commission and the City of Allentown celebrates the impact of the arts on Allentown and the Lehigh Valley when it presents the 29th Annual Allentown Arts Ovation Awards, 5:30 p.m. May 9, Renaissance Hotel at PPL Center, Seventh and Hamilton streets, Allentown.

Recipients of the 2017 Arts Ovation Awards include:

Special Recognition for Arts Advocacy Award: State Sen. Patrick M. Browne (R-16). In 2009, Browne crafted the one-of-a-kind, 130-acre Neighborhood Improvement Zone (NIZ) to help revitalize and expand the tax base of the then financially-struggling City of Allentown by permitting tax revenues, except for property taxes, generated by new development to be put back into projects within NIZ. There has been an estimated $1 billion of new development investment in Allentown.

Outstanding Achievement in Performing Arts: Dennis Razze. Razze, a founding member of The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival (PSF), has acted or directed in every season since PSF began in 1992, was named the Associate Artistic Director of PSF in 2003 and became chair of the Theater Program at DeSales University in 2010.

Outstanding Service Award: Nelvin Vos. Since 2008, Vos has been involved with the “Arts at St. John’s,” most recently as chairperson. The series at St. John’s Lutheran Evangelical Church, Allentown, has partnering with the Bach Choir of Bethlehem, Allentown Symphony Orchestra and Allentown Band. Since 2011, Vos has worked on “Arts and Access,” an initiative of the Partnership for a Disability Friendly Community and the Lehigh Valley Arts Council.

Outstanding Achievement in Visual Arts: Jill Olegaard is an artist and Professor and Chair of the Art Department at Cedar Crest College.

Outstanding Teacher of the Arts: Jon Roylance. Roylance is an instructor at William Allen High School, working in the Allentown Academy of the Arts, and chairman of the Arts Department.

Emerging Artist Award: August Fegley and Oakes Fegley. The daughter and son of the acting Fegley family, have performed at Civic Theatre of Allentown and Oakes Fegley starred in the Disney theatrical feature, “Pete’s Dragon” (2016).

Outstanding Achievement in Literary Arts: Shane Burcaw. Burcaw is co-founder of Laughing At My Nightmare Inc., dedicated to teaching how humor can help them overcome challenges and providing equipment to persons with muscular dystrophy. Burcaw is an award-winning author, Emmy-winning producer, and writer of a blog with more than 600,000 followers.

“The Allentown Arts Commission strongly believes that the arts, represented by this year’s honorees, are integral to the continued development of the ongoing renaissance of downtown Allentown, as well as to the development of the entire city,” said Sharon Lee Glassman, Chair of the Allentown Arts Commission. “We are excited to once again honor a group of extraordinary artists and advocates who contribute to making Allentown a cultural destination.”

The event includes a cocktail party with beverages, hors d’oeurvres and entertainment.

Tickets:; 19th Street Theatre Box Office.