The Artistry Board of Directors presented outgoing Executive Director & Chief Advancement Officer Andrea Specht with the inaugural Diane Darr Award for Artistry Excellence at a special luncheon on Tuesday, June 11. The event brought together donors to the Diane Darr Fund for Bloomington’s Future, launched in 2018, and the Andrea Specht Appreciation Fund, which has raised more than $80,000 and counting for Artistry.
The Diane Darr Award for Artistry Excellence is named for Andrea’s friend and mentor, and it will serve as a living tribute to an extraordinary citizen artist and the founding mother of the Bloomington Art Center.
According to Board Member John Gibbs, who presented the Award, “’Transformational’ is an overused word, but sometimes, truly appropriate. Today, we recognize Andrea for her genuinely transformative actions. In a little less than a decade Andrea has left a permanent mark and forced a gigantic leap forward in to bringing this community together to think bigger, professionalize the theater, inspire our placemaking, assure that no ideas, creativity or individuals are marginalized – and generally push us all toward the ideal of artistic excellence.”
In describing the woman for whom this Award is named, Board President Karen Snedeker said, “As a civic leader, Diane helped to found numerous organizations that distinguish Bloomington to this day. Diane has always championed the convictions that continue to underscore Artistry’s work: the conviction that high quality arts experiences are essential to a vibrant, forward-looking community, and that access to arts engagement and arts learning for every generation is a vital part of a healthy democracy.”
In her comments at the luncheon, Diane reflected on the fact that excellence – including artistic excellence – is not for the faint heated or those unprepared to work hard in its pursuit. It demands that even as we celebrate progress and success, we ask “What could be better?” Accordingly, the Diane Darr Award for Artistry Excellence may not be presented every year. As John Gibbsnoted, “It is only once in a while that someone comes around who is truly transformative.” In the future as in 2019, this Award will be presented to persons whose contributions to Artistry meet that very high bar.
All Artistry friends are invited to wish Andrea well at a farewell open house on Tuesday, June 25. The open house will take place from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. in the Inez Greenberg Gallery, and no RSVP is required.