|Stern Gets Arts Council Arts Legacy Award For 2020|
Covington, VA (April 21, 2021) - Jeffrey Stern has been awarded the Alleghany Highlands Arts Council's Arts Legacy Award for 2020. The annual event recognizes individuals or entities who have given a life-time of dedication to the perpetuation the performing arts. Due to restrictions of the pandemic, this yearâ€™s event had to be held virtually via Zoom on Tuesday evening.
Jeff has over 39 years of professional experience in the arts, working in theatre, television, feature film, fine art, and radio.
He served our community for four years as the Executive Director of the Historic Masonic Theatre Foundation, where he made significant contributions to quality of life in our area.
While in that position Stern managed the re-opening and successful operation of the Historic Masonic Theatre and Amphitheater. He was responsible for programming, publicity, bookings, financial and personnel management
Before coming to Clifton Forge, Jeff was the Artistic Director for Hampton Coliseum/Hampton Arts Commission, a position he began in August 2013. Previously, he was the Franklin Park Performing & Visual Arts Center Manager in Loudoun County, VA, a position he held from March 2001 to August 2013.
Jeffâ€™s career has taken him to numerous locations, including Los Angeles and San Francisco, CA, Washington, DC, and Munich, Germany.
After earning a BFA in theatrical production from Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts, Jeff became involved in television and feature film production.
Stern has produced over 2,000 performing events throughout his career, showcasing local, national, and international performers, including numerous Emmy, Tony, Oscar, and Grammy award winners. Additionally, he has curated more than 90 exhibitions featuring the artwork of over 4,000 visual artists from around the world.
Motivated by a 2018 Cigna Health care detailing the profound impacts of loneliness in our society, Stern left the theatre to take a position as Director of Community Engagement for Sinclair Health Clinic in Winchester, VA. His work there allows him to use his talents in partnership, outreach, and creative skills to pursue innovative care models to enhance the health benefits of interpersonal connection.
As a community volunteer, Jeff served on the board of Access Virginia, an organization providing deeper connections to the arts for individuals with disabilities. Jeff has also served on the City of Hamptonâ€™s Arts District Steering Committee and as the past- president of the Loudoun Arts Council. He is currently a grant review panelist for the Virginia Commission for the Arts.
While making the presentation, Arts Council Executive Director Tammy Scruggs-Duncan praised Stern's work saying, â€śIt was wonderful having Jeff as a colleague, not only for his adept working knowledge of stagecraft and all elements of the performance profession but because he is truly a great guy with a heart both for the work and for the people of our area.â€ť
Others who spoke during the ceremony lauding Sternâ€™s attributes included Catherine Welborn, program coordinator for the Virginia Commission for the Arts, Gayle Hillert of the Historic Masonic Theatre, Mary Donnan of the Alleghany Foundation, Katrina McClure, director of Sinclair Health Clinic, as well as Jeffâ€™s wife and son, Beth and Conner Stern.
In his acceptance speech, Stern thanked the Arts Council and its board of directors and spoke of what the award meant to him. "I want to say what a gift this evening has been for me...I am humbled by the speakers who have spoken and the thoughts that have been shared. It will be with me forever and Iâ€™m forever grateful for it.
He added, â€śAn arts council was how my career in the arts was borne so it seems only fitting that the most moving evening of my personal professional journey would be given to me by an arts council.â€ť
Additionally, he spoke of the impressive energy force of the volunteers in our area, complimenting them on their dedication to â€śgetting stuff doneâ€ť. He also cited the many contributions of John and Gayle Hillert and Sara Lu Snyder in laying foundations for cultural advancement in the Alleghany Highlands.
The Arts Legacy Award was established over a decade ago to honor individuals and institutions who have spent a lifetime perpetuating the performing arts through teaching, studying, performing, mentoring, financially backing, developing and executing programs or otherwise supporting the performance arts of music, theatre and dance.
The Arts Council accepts nominations for this award year-round. Past recipients include: Dr. Clavin McClinton, Jean Mitchell Shepard, Stephen Allan Tucker, Susan Parker Potter, Sandra Dodd Minter, Nell K. Fleshman, R. Dean Andrews, Westvaco Corporation (WestRock), Horton Beirne & The Covington Virginian Inc., Ginger Leitch , Frances Parker Rupert, Sara Lu P. Snyder, The Alleghany Foundation, Founding Members:- Lily Albert, Harold & Carla Bell, Hubert & Mary Emma Cox, Nelson & Mary Lee Coxe, Mary Frances Mays-Davis, Margaret McCaleb, Harold & Nita Miller, R.L.& Greta Persinger, Charles & Virginia Stumpp.