Governor Joe Manchin III and First Lady Gayle Manchin honored David Wohl of Cross Lanes with the top honor, the Distinguished Arts Award, at the 2006 Governor’s Arts Awards this evening at the Cultural Center in Charleston. The event was hosted by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History.
Wohl received the award for his outstanding contributions to regional theater and arts organizations throughout the state. An artistic force in the state arts community for decades, he is a professor and teacher in theater and communications at West Virginia State University (WVSU). Also an actor and director, his greatest contribution to the arts may be as a visionary leader and communicator. He co-founded the Charleston Stage Company, serves as dean of the College of Arts and Humanities at WVSU and has worked in various capacities with Arts Advocacy of West Virginia, including currently as president. He has raised the state’s profile in theater within the region through his work with the Southeastern Theater Conference and globally through his work while traveling abroad to places like Senegal and Vietnam. He is a founding member of the Peer Advisor Network, and chaired the board for the initial year of FestivALL in Charleston.
The other three finalists for the Distinguished Arts Award for lifetime achievement were Nina Denton Pasinetti of Charleston for more than 30 years as teacher, choreographer and director; Gail Galloway Adams as both a writer and teacher of creative writing at West Virginia University; and William “Sarge” McGhee, noted folk artist and muralist from Mullens.
Other awards presented this evening included the Arts in Education/Service to Youth award to the Augusta Heritage Center of Elkins, known for its dedication to teaching and preserving the traditional arts for more than 30 years. John “Bernie” Schultz, dean and director of the Creative Arts Center at West Virginia University, received the Arts Leadership and Service Award for his years of work promoting and nurturing the arts among students and the community at large. The Creative Community Spirit Award was won by the City of Charleston for FestivALL, the dramatic new arts festival that brings together dozens of arts groups to celebrate all aspects of the arts in the capital city. The Artistic Excellence Award was won by Cathey Sawyer of Lewisburg for her work with the Greenbrier Valley Theatre, both as actress and artistic director. Kitty Clark of Shepherdstown was selected for the Arts Innovator Award for her efforts to involve the Eastern Panhandle community in dance with her Goose Route Arts Collaborative. A special Arts Patron award was given to the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation for decades of financial support to arts facilities throughout West Virginia.
For more information, call (304) 558-0220.
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History, an agency of the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, brings together the state’s past, present and future through programs and services in the areas of archives and history, the arts, historic preservation and museums. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.
Deputy Commissioner/Communications Manager
West Virginia Division of Culture and History
The Cultural Center
1900 Kanawha Blvd., East
Charleston, WV 25305
Phone (304) 558-0220, ext. 120
Fax (304) 558-2779