NEW BRITAIN - The 22nd annual meeting of the Greater New Britain Arts Alliance was held Wednesday at Hole In the Wall Theatre where Jean Watson Esselink was named Unsung Hero for her longtime efforts in the local music and arts community.
She was nominated by three people, one of them being South Church’s pastor, the Rev. Jane Rowe.
Esselink has been a member of South Church for more than 48 years and an active member of its Chancel Choir for that whole time, Rowe said.
She has been a music teacher in the New Britain public schools, as well as at a private piano studio.
Four other awards were presented to members of the community who have contributed to the arts.
Gerry Amodio, executive director of the New Britain Downtown District, presented the Individual Contribution to the Arts award to artist Adrian Elliott.
Zeena Tawfik presented the Public Servant of the Year award to David Huck, public affairs specialist for Mayor Erin E. Stewart.
The Excellence in Leadership of an Arts Organization award was given to Ken Bagley, director of the Plainville Wind Ensemble. The award was presented by Kathleen Marsan, executive director of the Plainville Wind Ensemble.
Stewart presented the Lifetime Contribution to the Arts award to Stephen Hard. She said it was an honor to present the award since Hard has helped her and taught her to become a better advocate for the arts, she said.
Hard has taken on numerous art projects in New Britain, including the Stockman Gallery and, most recently, the Bees Across New Britain.
“Steven it has been an honor and a pleasure to work with you for so many years,” Stewart said as she presented the award. “I hope to continue that, thank you for all that you have done. Congratulations.”
Hard said it was nice to receive the award but the important thing is to get things accomplished.
“When you are working with an arts community like the one here in the city of New Britain, that’s how you get things accomplished because you are working with incredible people,” Hard said.
The Greater New Britain Arts Alliance has various projects planned, including enhancing the HappeningHere.org website and its social media platforms through use of Google Ads and Facebook marketing.
Karla Santos can be reached at 860-801-5079 or firstname.lastname@example.org.