On Tuesday evening the lights in Norfolk shone brightly upon five extraordinary women during the first annual CultureMax awards. Presented by the Northwest Connecticut Arts Council the awards were created to honor those “artists, heritage professionals, cultural organizations, volunteers and businesses that have elevated the stature of arts and/or heritage within the region of northwest Connecticut.” It was an evening of high energy and warm feelings as those gathered celebrated the honorees within the illustrious walls of Infinity Hall.

Amy Wynn, executive
director of the Northwest CT Arts Council opened the festivities with
expressions of gratitude to her team who had worked so diligently to make the
event possible, to the host and their staff for their hospitality and to local
artist Dennis Bialek whose magnificent sculptures were crafted specifically for
these CultureMax Awards.

Wynn was followed by Kip Bergstrom, Deputy
Director of Connecticut’s Department of Economic Development, who took the
stage and shared fond memories of northwest Connecticut before honing in on a
fundamental concept that was the groundwork for this evening’s ceremony:
PASSION. It was the passion of the individuals and institutions being honored
that made such an impact on the community writ large. Finally Tino Galluzo,
proprietor of The White Gallery in Lakeville, made the presentations to each of
the honorees, introducing them with charm and gentility.

The honorees were

Sharon Dante in the artist category for founding The Nutmeg Conservatory
for the Arts
that is now celebrating
its 45th year of dance instruction in Torrington.

Catherine Fields, the executive director of theLitchfield
Historical Society
in the Heritage
Professional category for her 26 years of dedication to helping the community
in this field.

Janet Rathbun of Colebrook in the Volunteer category was nominated
due to her tireless efforts for countless organizations throughout northwest

Five Points Galleryin Torrington (care of Judy McElhone) in the Cultural
Organization category was nominated because it has made an enormous impact in a
short few years thanks to the dedication of team of individuals who make it

The North End Storein Barkhamsted (care of Brenda Pelletier) in the culture-loving
Business category was nominated for its dedication to providing artists and
musicians a venue to showcase their talent, making it an integral part of the
North End Store experience.

The first annual
CultureMax was by all accounts a heralded success and the Northwest Connecticut
Arts Council looks forward to next year’s celebration!


J Timothy Quirk

About The Author

J. Timothy Quirk is a cartoonist whose work is seen in newspapers in NY and NE and online on Ann Nyberg’s Network Connecticut. He is one of two administrators for the T-Town Torrington Chatter facebook group and facilitates the Cash Mob there. J. Timothy is active in the arts/culture community in Torrington and is documenting the community in his blog, Nutmeg Chatter.