Sherry Patterson sounded grateful — and a little bemused — while accepting the Achievement in the Arts award at the annual Mayor’s Awards for the Arts on Friday.
The crowd had just taken their seats after giving Patterson a standing ovation, something she sees at many local concerts. Between breaking out her wide, beaming smile, Patterson explained it can be a bit odd to be recognized for just being oneself.
“I have no words, I’m just being me. That’s who I am,” Patterson told a packed crowd at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center.
“I’m grateful that I am being recognized, that you chose to recognize me for being me,” she added.
The City and Borough of Juneau Mayor’s Office honored six individuals and families with awards. Local music teachers Greg Burger and Mary DeSmet, weaver Lily Hope, business owners the Melville family, entertainer Collette Costa, and patrons Linda Kruger and Jeff Gnass were all awarded.
Mayor Ken Koelsch was busy participating in a crime conference in Anchorage and couldn’t pass out the awards himself, as is customary. In his place, Deputy Mayor Jerry Nankervis passed out the awards.
Award-wining Tlingit weaver Hope, of the T’akdeintann clan, was born and raised in Juneau. She’s won renown in weaving circles and among culture bearers and collectors for her traditional Ravenstail and Chilkat weaving — painstaking styles she’s learned from weavers Clarissa Rizal and Kay Parker.
Child underfoot, Hope thanked her mother, who passed recently, when she tearfully accepted the Artist award. She said she could feel her mother’s spirit working through her.
“It made it possible to continue to do my work,” she said. She also credited her husband, poet and storyteller Ishmael Hope, with supporting her throughout her career.
Burger and DeSmet have been offering private music instruction in Juneau for over 40 years at their business Full Circle Music. Mary teaches piano and guitar and offers early childhood education resource and assessment. The couple received the Arts in Education award.
Accepting on their behalf was friend Brent Fischer. DeSmet and Burger were out of town on previously scheduled travel.
“I have watched them year after year turn out students who have music in their hearts and souls,” Fischer said.
The Melville Family has contributed to the arts through their business Capital Copy since it opened in 1980. Tom Melville accepted the Business Leaders in the Arts award on behalf of Beth, Ken and Henry Melville.
Capital Copy has worked especially hard to support music, producing sheet music and play bills on short deadlines and working closely with arts producers, according to the mayor’s office. They also use their storefront as a promotional space for local arts events.
Tom and Beth are getting close to retiring. Tom Melville said they have a like-minded successor in place.
“Thanks a lot and keep having all those great arts in Juneau,” Tom Melville said.
Though she couldn’t attend, local multi-talented theater owner, singer and emcee Collette Costa’s likeness could be seen everywhere. A few dozen friends and supporters brought enlarged photo prints of Costa’s face, attached to handles so they could cover their faces with Costa’s.
Mark Ridgway, Costa’s business partner at Gold Town Nickolodeon, accepted the Innovator in the Arts award on Costa’s behalf alongside the “off the hook honies,” a group of Costa’s friends bedecked in sequin dresses.
“Expect the unexpected, that’s Collette,” Ridgway said.
Linda Kruger and Jeff Gnass have supported the arts in Juneau through their volunteering and patronage. They’re also avid runners, and couldn’t attend Friday because they were busy running a race in Washington state.
Musician and friend Tom Locher accepted on their behalf.
“They feel honored to be able to share themselves with the community,” Locher said.
• Contact reporter Kevin Gullufsen at 523-2228 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @KevinGullufsen.