Over the years, some artists have managed to capture something quintessential about Grove City for the annual Arts in the Alley event, and been rewarded with the Mayor's Easel Award.

Over the years, some artists have managed to capture something quintessential about Grove City for the annual Arts in the Alley event, and been rewarded with the Mayor's Easel Award.

Now, members of the Grove City arts community want to thank these talented people once again.

A special reception to honor all past recipients of the award, stretching back perhaps 20 years, will be held on Saturday, June 14, from 7 to 9 p.m. in City Hall, according to Rebecca Sommer, local gallery owner and chairwoman of the fine arts exhibit for Arts in the Alley since 2000.

The event, being held in conjunction with one of Grove City Tomorrow's Saturdays in the Grove gatherings in Town Center, is not only intended to celebrate the work of the artists, all of which were purchased by the city for $1,500, but also to announce some changes for the prize, according to Sommer.

Beginning with the 29th annual version of Arts in the Alley during the third weekend in September, the purchase price will increase to $1,750, plus a $250 "People's Choice Award" for the artists selected to be in the running for the honor, according to Sommer.

"People love to have a say in the winning," she said. "They like having their opinion heard."

In addition, the award will be renamed.

The term "mayor" will be dropped and it will simply be the Grove City Easel Award. The city's top elected official hasn't been involved in selecting the winner, so there didn't seem much sense in keeping the title in the award, according to Sommer.

Current Mayor Richard L. "Ike" Stage certainly has no objection to the change.

"I don't even remember why it was called the Mayor's Easel Award," he said.

Stage does recall how the idea for the prize was added to the event several years after Arts in the Alley was launched.

"We wanted some artwork that was part of the show to be of images in the city," the mayor said. "There's been some very nice artwork, neat stuff."

"There is some very good art, and some of it has more of an emotional appeal," Sommer said. "It's been a balance between the art focus and the local flavor."

Sommer last week was embarked on the task of rounding up as many Mayor's Easel Award recipients as possible to attend the June 14 reception.

Some artists have taken the prize on more than one occasion, and some are local residents and easily contacted, according to Sommer. Others have moved about a bit, so she's not certain what kind of effort will be required to get in touch with them.

"Half would be great," Sommer said.

All, she admitted, would be all the better.