Westerville News & Public Opinion

Local art community winning far-flung accolades


In case your attention has been turned elsewhere, a number of our fine Westerville artists have been receiving prestigious recognition lately. To name a few being honored:


Jaime Bennati

Jaime Bennati, a resident of Westerville received a $5,000 individual artist excellence award. The Individual Excellence Awards program provides grants to Ohio artists for the exceptional merit of a completed body of work. These awards recognize creativity and imagination that exemplify the highest level of achievement and advancement of the art form for a particular discipline.

With this support, the Ohio Arts Council encourages the growth and development of individual artists. Bennati is a graduate of Westerville North High School and the Fort Hayes commercial art program class of 2004.

Currently she is a substitute teacher in Westerville. She is also a recipient of the Vermont Studio Center fellowship program.


Straub Dance Studio

Straub Dance Center won big at the recent Dance Masters of Ohio Convention held in Cleveland.

In the 12-and-under line category, the Petite Tap Line won the Top Overall Line Award. The Teen Tap Line also won the Top Overall Line Award in their category along with the Total Package Award.

Suzy Straub, artistic director, also took the Top Choreography Awards in both age divisions. The highlight of the evening was when Straub Dance Center took the Top Studio Award over all competitors.


Jim Atwood

Jim Atwood passed away on Dec. 31, 2012. He is remembered as an artist and instructor to adults and children for nearly 40 years in Westerville.

His paintings exemplified his love for the beauty of nature. Jim's greatest pleasure came in the accomplishments of his students, with 33 winning major scholarships to arts schools and colleges.

Jim was also influential in the exhibits of art by children at the Ohio State Fair and Westerville's Music & Arts Festival.

At 2 p.m. Saturday, June 15, many of Jim's past students, friends and family will come together to pay homage to him with the dedication of a bench and tree at Hannah Mayne Park.

The public is invited to attend; those who loved Jim will certainly be sharing some of their favorite Jim stories.


Call for writers

Westerville and Columbus area published authors, illustrators and poets are being sought to provide 15-20 minute readings followed by book signings as part of "Rock the Ville" on Saturday, Aug. 10 from noon to 9 p.m.

Auditions will be held Tuesday, June 4 at the Westerville Public Library; contact Lindsey Batchelder at 614-882-7277 ext. 2103 or via email at lbatchelder@westervillelibrary.org for more information.

Phyllis Self, recreation operations superintendent for the Westerville Parks and Recreation Department, is a member of the Arts Council of Westerville.

June arts events

The Westerville ArtsLine column and calendar is provided by the Arts Council of Westerville and printed as a public service by the ThisWeek Westerville News & Public Opinion. Email listings to artscouncilwesterville@yahoo.com.

June 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 -- Live Music at Java Central, 7-10 p.m., 20 S. State St. Each Saturday java-central.com or 614-839-0698.

June 1, 2 -- Westerville Senior Center "Forever Young Theater" and the "Dublin Senior Players" present an evening of one acts at the Dublin Abbey Theater 5600 Post Road; Tickets can be purchased by calling the Abbey at 614-410-4550.

June 3-28 -- Elena Akers Exhibition at the Westerville Community Center 350 N. Cleveland Ave.

June 4 -- Sip and Sketch, 6:30 p.m., Meza Wine Shop 48 N. State Street Advance registration is required. Contact Meza at 614-259-3101 or by email at vinomeza@gmail.

June 9, 16, 23, 30 -- Free Sounds of Summer Concert Series at Alum Creek Amphitheater, 221 W. Main Street 6:30 p.m.

June 9 -- Grassahol Concert at Grace Lutheran Church, 7:30 p.m., 100 E. Schrock Road, 614-882-7968.

June 12, 19, 26 -- Free Family Concert Series at Alum Creek Amphitheater, 221 W. Main Street 6:30 p.m.

June 14 -- Free Classic Movie Series Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Everal Barn, 60 N. Cleveland Ave. at dusk.

June 23 -- Darlene Erickson Exhibition at Java Central, 20 S. State St.

June 28 -- Artist Alley at 4th Friday in Uptown Westerville 6-9 p.m.

June 29 -- Generations Performing Arts Center presents Pride and Spirit of America, 5 p.m. Westerville Central High School, 7118 Mount Royal Ave. Tickets are $10 with veterans and military admitted free.