Choir volunteer, dentist champion the arts

Katie Kowalski, arts@ptleader.com
Posted 3/7/17

The 2016 Angel of the Arts and Patron of the Arts each represent the selflessness and dedication that enables the arts to thrive in the community, said Stan Rubin, Port Townsend Arts Commission …

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Choir volunteer, dentist champion the arts

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The 2016 Angel of the Arts and Patron of the Arts each represent the selflessness and dedication that enables the arts to thrive in the community, said Stan Rubin, Port Townsend Arts Commission chair.

“These are really wonderful winners, embodying what we look for,” said Rubin of “Angel” Germaine Arthur, who has devoted herself to the growth of the Community Chorus of Port Townsend and East Jefferson County since its founding; and “Patron” Dr. Steven Scharf, a dentist who has transformed his Uptown office into a gallery.

“We are honored to recognize their sustained contribution to our community,” Rubin said.

An awards celebration for Arthur and Scharf is set for 5 p.m., Friday, March 10 at the Cotton Building, 607 Water St., in downtown Port Townsend. Mayor Deb Stinson is to be on hand to read the proclamations.

The annual awards event sponsored by the Port Townsend Arts Commission celebrates volunteerism, leadership and community building. In addition to the Angel and Patron awards, a special citation is to be presented to Deb Steele of the Jefferson County Community Foundation for her work with the annual Wearable Arts Show, Rubin said.

GERMAINE ARTHUR IS ANGEL

“Germaine Arthur is a true force,” said Rubin. “Her dedication to music is phenomenal.”

Arthur was a founding singer and organizer of the Community Chorus in 1975, and over the years has served as president, vice president and treasurer of the board, and has performed innumerable backstage tasks necessary for production, Rubin said.

Arthur describes Port Townsend as eclectic and welcoming to all, and deeply appreciates its music community, which brings people together who wouldn’t normally have met. “Music crosses all boundaries,” she said. “It cuts across religion and politics,” she said, noting that she’s made many wonderful friends through singing.

Over the years, she’s been faced with the challenge of keeping the chorus financially stable.

“We had a period of three years or so when there were more singers on stage than people in the audience,” she said. “We don’t have that problem now.”

Watching the chorus grow and attract overflowing audiences at each of its concerts has been a joy, she said.

Arthur has more recently dedicated herself to Ukuleles Unite.

STEVEN SCHARF IS PATRON

Scharf came to town in 1978, and while he says he doesn’t consider himself an artist in the “true artistic sense,” he has come to make his office a haven in support of the arts.

“[Scharf] is what the Patron designation was created to honor and encourage,” said Rubin. “He has gone far beyond the norm in using his professional place of business as a staging ground to advance the arts, specifically painting,” said Rubin of the Uptown dentist who personifies what a patron of the arts means to the Port Townsend Arts Commission.

For more than 20 years, Scharf has hosted dozens of individual and group shows in his dental office, many complete with receptions, and some with music.

“He has done all this with humility and vision,” Rubin said.

Scharf first began by showing the work of an artist patient whose quantity and quality of work blew him away; over the years, he has displayed the work of about 45 different artists of all different levels.

While Scharf has come to see that Port Townsend is a “bigger deal” in the arts world than when he first came, he said he still relates to art in the same way he always has.

“I like it in a fairly unsophisticated way, and can’t imagine a life without the element artists bring to all of us.”

HISTORY

“Angel of the Arts,” initiated in 1999, honors a volunteer who has made a sustained and noteworthy contribution during the past year. Angels are nominated by community members. Last year, the honor was awarded jointly to Port Townsend musical couple Selena and Louie Espinoza.

“Patron of the Arts,” first awarded in 2007, is selected by the arts commission to honor a business owner or other community leader for outstanding support of the arts.

Previous winners include Rocky Friedman of The Rose Theatre, Mark Cole of The Upstage, Mark Hering and Marie Campanoli of Quimper Sound, Ling-hui of Ling-hui’s Dance, former City Council members Kris Nelson and George Randels, Janette Force of the Port Townsend Film Festival, Anna Quinn of The Writers’ Workshoppe/Imprint Books, and Polly Lyle and Gail Rodgers of Northwind Arts Center.

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