When “Arts Day,” presented by the Ohio Arts Council and the Ohio Citizens for the Arts Foundation, recently celebrated artistic excellence in Ohio, Darke County Center for the Arts was well-represented at the celebration.
Motivation for attendance at this year’s incarnation of the annual event included the opportunity to connect with state legislators in a low-key social setting, and the desire to support and honor Darke County resident John Scalzi, who was a recipient of the Governor’s Award to an individual artist. As the crowd assembled, I ran into former Governor’s Award-winner and elegant human being Bing Davis, who joyfully summed up another excellent reason for participating in this event.
“It’s good to be with people who love the arts,” Bing said.
Throughout the day, reference was often made to the economic benefits that accrue to communities who strongly support artistic endeavors; but the intrinsic value of the arts was simply a given, not open to question, requiring no justification. Everyone in attendance knew the worth of the arts, and for their own individual as well as universal reasons appreciated that value.
Included among those “people who love the arts” is Governor John Kasich, represented by his spouse, Karen, who lauded all those who contribute to the rich cultural diversity and economic vitality of our state and help make Ohio a better place to live, work, and raise a family. Senate President Keith Faber and Speaker of the House Cliff Rosenberger presided over the ceremony with unadulterated joy, glowing with pride when introducing award winners from the district they represent—which brings us back to Darke County’s award winner, who resides within Senator Faber’s jurisdiction.
John Scalzi’s gracious, heartfelt thank-you speech, one of the best of the day, moved the audience as the author expressed the joy and pride he feels in being recognized as an Ohio artist. Although you should already be aware of John, as he has won three prestigious Hugo awards for his science fiction writings, here is a brief bio, based upon information included in the Awards booklet given at the celebration luncheon and a brief conversation with the disarmingly humble and charming author. He is a big city native from Los Angeles who had also lived in Washington, D.C., but moved to Ohio in 2001, so that his daughter, Athena, could grow up near her mother’s family and be educated in an environment removed from the problems experienced by urban schools. (Athena apparently thrived in her rural setting, and is now a lovely and charming young lady whose presence, along with her grandmother’s, graciously enhanced the DCCA table.)
John’s writing career was already in high gear when he arrived in our community; his delightful personal blog, Whatever, has been winning followers since 1998, and he had written lots of copy for the highly popular Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader books. I first became aware of him through his well-written, entertaining and helpful movie reviews that once appeared in the Dayton Daily News. His first published novel, Old Man’s War, begun shortly after his move to the Bradford area, justifiably earned acclaim; the series spawned by that initial triumph is currently under option with Syfy for television. In 2013, Scalzi’s Redshirts won the Hugo Award for Best Novel. (I have read and enjoyed both those books; Old Man’s War made me cry, Redshirts made me laugh out loud, and I would recommend them to anyone who appreciates good writing whether or not they are science fiction fans.)
Spending time with “people who love the arts” is energizing and inspiring; Ohio’s Arts Day was truly a joyful celebration, honoring those creative individuals who enhance lives across the state through the arts, and providing a worthwhile experience for all who participated. Yes, it was good!
Marilyn Delk is a director of the Darke County Center for the Arts and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.