Governor’s Awards for the Arts


2014 Governor’s Awards for the Arts

2014-governors-award-logoSix individuals and two organizations were recognized for their significant contributions and profound impact on the artistic and cultural life of Delaware at the 2014 Governor’s Awards for the Arts on Monday, October 6, 2014 at The Grand Opera House in Wilmington. The event, which drew close to 800 audience members, was co-chaired by First Lady Carla Markell and Delaware State Arts Council Chair Lise Monty, with remarks from Governor Jack A. Markell, First Lady Carla Markell, Council Chair Lise Monty and Delaware Division of the Arts Director Paul Weagraff. Council member Tina Betz served as Mistress of Ceremonies.

Individual Winners

David Amado, leader

Sharon Baker, independent filmmaker

Xiang Gao, innovator

Eunice LaFate, advocate

Evelyn Swensson, lifetime achievement

Billie Travalini, educator

Organization Winners

Joshua M. Freeman Foundation, presenting

VSA Delaware, inclusion


Matthew Smith

Matthew Smith’s love for guitar began while attending University Liggett School in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. All it took was one lesson from his Spanish teacher, Dr. Lauree Emery, to unlock his passion for music and guitar. Smith continued his studies at the Indiana University Jacob’s School of Music, earning a bachelor of music and a master of music in guitar performance.  Smith studied under renowned artists Maestro Ernesto Bitetti and Petar Jankovic and was one of eight students to receive a full scholarship to study under renowned artist Sharon Isbin at the Aspen Music Festival. A 2014 Delaware Individual Artist Fellow, Smith is on the faculty of the Music School of Delaware.

Pyerce Lateef Oates

A 15-year-old multi-instrumentalist who loves playing gospel, classical, show tunes and jazz music, Pyerce Lateef Oates attends Cab Calloway School of the Arts as a piano major. Oates plays with the Wilmington Youth Jazz Band directed by Fostina Dixon Kilgoe and Gerald Chavis and is band director of his own jazz ensemble, Quintastics. He has received more than 80 awards including the Cliff Note Award 2012, presented by former Mayor Baker, the 2012 Young Original Young Composer Award, presented by the Christina Cultural Arts Center, and the Outstanding Soloist Award from the University of Delaware’s Jazz Festival in 2011 and 2012.

The Award

Michael Quattrociocchi is an award-winning wood craft artisan. He started working with wood when he was 9 years old in a shop that was shared with his father and uncles in Rome, NY. He was featured on WHYY’s “First” program in January 2014 and was also selected last year to exhibit in the Curator’s Choice Gallery of the Biggs Museum of American Art in Dover, Delaware. He has won many awards for his wood craft and his work can be seen at

“Treasure Box” is an Asian design made of wood with applied panels on front and back. The body is made of cherry with walnut legs and spline joints. The front and back panels are made of spalted maple in a “Landscape” design reminiscent of the Delaware shore. Landscapes may be a shoreline with fog, marshland scene, or estuary.


History of the Governor’s Awards for the Arts

Governor Russell W. Peterson began the tradition of honoring Delaware artists in 1970. Since then, Delaware has paid tribute to 40 distinguished individuals and organizations that have had a profound and lasting impact on the state’s artistic and cultural life. Governor Jack A. Markell, the Delaware State Arts Council, and the Delaware Division of the Arts are proud to honor the 2014 recipients of the Governor’s Awards for the Arts. This marks the 11th celebration since 1970 of individuals and organizations that have helped to shape Delaware’s rich cultural life and impact communities.

The 2014 Governor’s Awards for the Arts were coordinated by the Delaware Division of the Arts in conjunction with the Delaware State Arts Council and the Governor’s office. Award recipients were selected from a pool of candidates solicited during an extensive nominating process.

Past Honorees

  • The Music School of Delaware (Organization Category)
  • William M. Shea (Individual Category)
  • University of Delaware Art Conservation Department and Winterthur Museum and Country Estate (Collaboration Category)
  • Michael Kalmbach (Peggy Amsterdam Outstanding Achievement Award)

  • Charles Allmond, Sculptor and former attorney
  • Donald Parks, Painter and professor of art at Delaware State University
  • Reuben Salters, Director, Inner-City Cultural League; youth educator; and founder, Sankofa African Dancers and Drummers
  • Marie Swajeski, Founder, Delaware Children’s Theatre
  • Cab Calloway School of the Arts, Wilmington
  • Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, Wilmington
  • Stephen Bruni, Special “Ambassador for the Arts” Award

  • Congressman Michael N. Castle, Arts Advocate
  • Delaware Institute for the Arts in Education, Arts Organization
  • Longwood Foundation, Inc., Funding Support for the Arts
  • Gonzalo Martinez, Esq., Arts Advocate
  • Lynn Herrick Sharp, Patron and Advocate of the Arts
  • Stephen Tanis, Visual Artist
  • Christina Cultural Arts Center, Inc., Arts Organization
  • DuPont, Corporate Patron of the Arts
  • E. Jean Lanyon, Artist
  • C. Lawler Rogers, Sr., Arts Educator
  • Howard Schroeder, Artist Legacy Award
  • The Brandywiners, Ltd., Arts Organization
  • Philip Corrozi, Former Legislator and Arts Advocate
  • Hercules Incorporated, Corporate Sponsor of the Arts
  • Edward L. Loper, Sr., Visual Artist
  • Cleveland Morris, Founder, Delaware Theatre Company
  • Mrs. Helen Farr Sloan, Visual Artist and Patron of the Arts
  • Pamela C. Copeland, Patron of the Arts
  • Delaware Art Museum
  • Mildred Thornhill McGowan, Musician and Arts Educator
  • Delaware Symphony
  • William Winder “Chick” Laird, Patron of the Arts
  • Eugenia Eckford Rhoads, Visual Artist and Patron of the Arts
  • Beatrice “Bebe” Coker, Playwright and Poet
  • Jack Lewis, Visual Artist
  • Wilmington Opera Society (now OperaDelaware)
  • Charles Parks, Gold Medal for Exemplary Contributions to the Arts
  • Louise Chambers Corkan, Governor’s Award for Merit in the Arts

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