Nominations sought for Fine Arts Hall of Fame

Fine Arts leaders will soon be recognized for playing a significant part in developing the culture of Waxahachie.

Nominations open on April 1 for the first Fine Arts Hall of Fame event in the city. With the deadline for nominations Aug. 1, community members can nominate people for the following categories: Artist, director, teacher, group or patron related to musical arts, culinary arts, communication arts, theater arts, literary arts, fashion design or other.

The idea for the hall of fame is something organizer Margaret Felty has been wanting to do since the '70s as her first year as the WISD Ex-Student Association president, but the timing was never right to get it off the ground.

“I'm a member of DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution, and we have a patriot's tea every year, and we honor citizens with citizens' awards all over the county,” Felty said, adding this year is her third time to be president of the Ex-Student Association. “I just noticed almost all of the students we recognized had things on their resumes like band, music, drama, different types of art, church choirs, various things that had to do with the fine arts, for these awards.that said to me how much of our good citizens are artists.”

Though she was raised by a football coach, Felty fell in love with the arts at a young age when her father, the coach, became involved in trying to develop more arts-related programs within the city. He helped at the annual Scarborough Renaissance Festival, theater shows and movies, she said.

“We have the Athletic Hall of Fame, awards for Mr. This, and Mr. That. It just came to my mind that our ex-students of Waxahachie are very talented, and that those talents need to be recognized by our community and our school system, and the world,” Felty said.

With the help of a steering committee including Rich Armstrong, the WHS band director; Andrew Reynolds, the WHS theater director; Sean Cagle, a WHS art instructor; Gail Harrell, the WHS choir director and former director of the Ellis County Children's theater; residents Jane Ann Shipp Connie Wommack, two fine arts enthusiasts; as well as several other fine arts leaders, the first Fine Arts Hall of Fame ceremony will take place Dec. 10 at the WHS Fine Arts auditorium. Once nominations are turned in, another group of judges will select who wins, she said, adding the event will also include a scholarship portion, hopefully.

“I am excited to honor individuals who have succeeded in and supported the arts in Waxahachie. Also, there aren't many scholarships for a graduating seniors planning to study in the fine arts, I am glad we will be providing one,” Cagle stated in an email. “I hope the event inspires the citizens of Waxahachie to seek out the many opportunities to experience great art made by our own kids, neighbors, and classmates.”

With awards, a silent auction, scholarships and possibly catered desserts from the WHS culinary arts students, Felty said she hopes the event will be a night that goes down in history.

For more information, to make a donation to the event or to nominate a local fine arts leader or someone who has left the area to go on to make an impact elsewhere in the fine arts world, visit http://www.waxahachieexstudents.org or contact Felty at 972-921-1181 or margaretfelty@sbcglobal.net.

“It'll have an elegance about it. It's deserving of elegance,” Felty said. “We also hope to have some showing off of our high school students. It's definitely not planned yet, but we're hoping to have an ensemble, and maybe the choir. Somebody doing poetry. I don't know what we could do, but there's a lot of options.”

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