Make your reservations now for the biannual awards banquet of the Fox Valley Arts Hall of Fame. The event, which is open to the public, will be held Thursday, May 1, at Villa Olivia banquet hall, 1401 W. Lake St., (Route 20) in Bartlett.
The ceremony will celebrate the lives and accomplishments of six new inductees. The Class of 2014, the seventh group of artists so honored, brings the total number of individual inductees to 50.
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This black-tie-optional affair begins with cocktails to the accompaniment of the Maud Powell String Quartet at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner and the induction ceremony at 6:30 p.m. Reservations are $75 per person.
Anyone wishing to attend should send a check to Fox Valley Arts Hall of Fame Treasurer, 1636 W. Downer Place, Aurora, IL 60506. Indicate whether those attending would like to be served beef and chicken brochettes or a vegetarian pasta dish. The deadline for reservations is Friday, April 25.
"The Induction Banquet is our group's signature event and is always well-attended, so we encourage people to make their reservations early," said Murna Hansemann of Elgin, vice president of events and coordinator of the gala. "There's something very energizing about celebrating lives of achievement, especially in the fine arts."
The board of directors will host a private reception for the Class of 2014 at 5 p.m. to give the honorees an opportunity to meet each other as well as previous inductees.
Following dinner, each inductee will be introduced and presented with an inscribed medallion and a certificate noting their achievement. An Arts Hall of Fame plaque recognizing each inductee will be added to the permanent Fox Valley Arts Hall of Fame exhibit housed at the Paramount Theatre in downtown Aurora.
The artists to be honored on May 1 are listed below. One of this year's six inductees -- Jane Peterson -- is being recognized posthumously.
• D. Lee DuSell (Visual Arts) was born in Aurora and studied at the American Academy of Art in Chicago. Over the course of his long and productive career, he has been a painter, printmaker, woodworker, metalsmith, architectural fabricator, and professor of industrial design at Syracuse University in New York. His work has been exhibited at galleries across the country, is part of the permanent collection of Boston's Museum of Fine Art, and has adorned sites ranging from the campus of Harvard University to the Shiga Sacred Garden in Shigaraki, Japan.
• Jim Gibson (Performing Arts), a native of Aurora, has had a long and successful career as a musician and as host of a variety of TV programs and more than 1,500 pageant telecasts, including Miss USA, Miss Universe, and Miss America. He performed and toured with the Grammy Award-winning Bill Gaither Trio and with the Lionel Hampton Orchestra. He hosted the Emmy Award-winning program "Windy City America" on WCFC Chicago and was nominated for an Emmy for hosting the Miss Illinois Pageant on WGN-TV.
• Elvina Truman Pearce (Performing Arts/Arts Education) is a longtime resident of Naperville, where she both maintains a piano studio and has served as founding director of North Central College's Division of Preparatory and Community Music. A national leader in the field of piano pedagogy, Pearce was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Awards for the National Conference of Keyboard Pedagogy in 2011 and is the author of the forthcoming book, "The Success Factor in Piano Teaching." Her performing career has included recitals at the National Gallery of Art and at Carnegie and Steinway Halls in New York and appearances with both the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Chicago Philharmonic.
• Jane Peterson (Visual Arts), born and raised in Elgin, exhibited widely during her long career, including shows at the Art Institute of Chicago and galleries in New York and Boston. She traveled with Louis Comfort Tiffany, painted alongside John Singer Sergeant, and wrote a book on flower painting in 1946. Paintings by Jane Peterson hang in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and the Baltimore Museum of Fine Arts. Her work appeared on the covers of such publications as The Journal of the American Medical Association and Garden Magazine.
• George Shipperley (Visual Arts), a longtime resident of Aurora, has devoted the decades since his retirement from a career in sales to the pursuit of his passion for painting, a pursuit that earned him the distinction of being named the first Signature Member of the Oil Pastel Society. His work has been exhibited widely throughout the Midwest, has frequently been designated "Best of Show," and has been included in the corporate collections of Amoco Oil Company, Mayo Clinic, and both Aurora and Benedictine universities, among many others.
• Randal Swiggum (Performing Arts/Arts Education) serves as conductor and artistic director of the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra, in which role he has achieved national and international recognition as both performer and educator. Under his direction, the EYSO has performed with such distinguished instrumentalists as Midori and Yo-Yo Ma, appeared at the Ravinia Festival, and undertaken an ambitious Civil War tour throughout the southeastern U.S. Swiggum has also conducted other ensembles throughout the U.S. and Europe and has written several books about music education. Since 2005, he has served as education conductor with the Elgin Symphony Orchestra.
To be considered for induction, candidates must be associated with the Fox Valley through birth, education, residence, or service. They also must have completed a minimum 20 years in their professional field and received national or international recognition.
Additional information about the Arts Hall of Fame and profiles of the past inductees may be found at www.foxvalleyarts.org.