A leader who has guided the South Haven Center for the Arts through the difficulties posed by COVID-19 restrictions is being honored by the Arts Council Greater Kalamazoo,
Kerry Hagy, executive director of the South Haven Center for the Arts, is among 10 individuals, organizations and businesses that have been named the 2021 Community Arts Award recipients by the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo.
Hagy is one of three recipients of the Arts Council’s Gayle Hoogstraten Arts Leadership Award, which recognizes leaders in Southwest Michigan in two categories: arts education and arts administration.
Named for the arts council’s first full-time executive director, the Arts Leadership Award is given to cultural leaders who go above and beyond their job descriptions to make a strong impact on their communities through art, and who also develop cultural relationships outside of their institutions.
“Through Kerry’s leadership, the South Haven Center for the Arts has been able to maintain the organization in a positive way throughout the pandemic,” the Arts Council wrote in a news release. “South Haven Center for the Arts switched to online programming, workshops, exhibitions and gallery openings through Zoom and changed scheduled exhibitions from in-person to online with a very positive response. During the transition to opening the art center to the public again, Kerry was able to create a full schedule of programming and events on short notice all while keeping in mind the safety of the staff, members, volunteers and visitors. Indoor children’s art classes were changed to outdoor art classes in a beautiful garden on the Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum’s grounds in South Haven.”
While keeping busy with her administrative duties at the art center, Hagy also makes time to help with other arts-related projects throughout the area. She helped arts organizations in Berrien County apply for funding for a mural project, helped South Haven Public Schools apply for an arts-related grant, and has offered grant-writing skills to other individuals and organizations, including the Scott Club, a cultural arts organization in South Haven.
The other award recipients are Bryan Zocher, administrator with the Lincoln Center Education for the Arts program; Cara Lieurance, WMUK-FM radio host for arts-related programs; Lori Moore, theater performer and arts advocator in Kalamazoo; Morgan Brown, Young Artist Award for her involvement with Rootead Youth Dance Company; Bell’s Brewery, Business Arts Award for supporting the fine arts; Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Epic Award for serving the community for 96 years; Mandy Clearwaters, Arts Leadership Award for showcasing Kalamazoo Public Schools’ student art projects throughout the community; Aubrey Jewel Rogers, Arts Leadership Award for her work as an instructor at Kalamazoo Valley Community College’s Center for New Media; and Judah Gesmundo, Theodore C. Cooper Award for Distinguished Volunteer Service for serving on the Wellspring/Cori Terry & Dancers board of directors for more than 20 years.