Artists, supporters will be recognized by arts council

By Evelyn Cairns
The Downriver Council for the Arts will present awards to three individuals and two organizations Sept. 15 during an Arts and Honors night program planned for 7:30 p.m. in the Wyandotte Arts Center, at 81 Chestnut.

DCA executive director Tammy Trudelle said the honorees have contributed to the Downriver culture and quality of life by supporting and promoting the arts.

Individuals receiving recognition will be James Keith Coleman of Taylor, a sculptor, Artist/Performer Award; Ken Wojciak, a teacher in the Melvindale-Northern Allen Park Schools, Arts Educator Award; and soprano Lara Semetko; Young Artist/Performer Award.

The Patron Award will be presented to the Oakwood Healthcare System, and the Downriver Council for Arts Award to the DCA Founders Society.

The event is open to the public without charge. Refreshments will be served after the awards ceremony. Reservations are necessary.

Dr. Noel W. Jackson of the Jackson Dental Design Studio in Trenton is sponsor of the event. Pas-tries and a specially decorated cake are being donated by the Southgate Bakery.

Entertainment will be provided by the AKT Theatre Project, the Downriver Young Performing Arts Center and the East River Folk Society.

Coleman, who was a plumber for 30 years before pursuing his art full time, is known for recycling metal into sculpture. His works, displayed throughout southeastern Michigan, include the Roosevelt High School mascot bear, the bull outside the Merrill Lynch offices in Wyandotte, a moose and 13-foot alligator in Grosse Ile Township, and a boy and girl fishing sculpture in Heritage Park, Taylor.

Wojciek, an art teacher at Allendale and Rogers schools, transforms his classrooms into multisensory art and cultural environments by integrating paintings, drawings and sculpture with social studies, reading and math.

Semetko, who lives in Grosse Ile Township, attends Central Michigan University with a double major in music education and vocal performance. Consistently on the dean’s list, she has won numerous awards and scholarships. Semetko was the runnerup in the Downriver Idol contest in 2010, and a finalist in 2011.

The Oakwood Healthcare System is being recognized for its Art for the Spirit program promoting the arts and supporting artists. In addition, the system has a free Summer Academy program for at-risk youths, and its galleries at the Taylor and Trenton hospitals feature local artists.

Founders Society members are being honored for their generosity and support of the DCA’s move to the Wyandotte Arts Center. Trudelle said their willingness to “take a chance” on the endeavor marks them as Downriver cultural pioneers.

Society members are Shirley Ciungan, John Colina, Virginia Pieratt, the Prechter Family Fund-World Heritage Foundation, Norma Wurmlinger and Hezekiah Zeiber, in memory of Myrtle Ray Zeiber and Jill Sharon Sheridon.

Members of the honorary committee for Arts and Honors night are Mayors Gerald Brown of Trenton, Valerie Cadez of Melvindale, Joseph Kuspa of Southgate, Jeffery Lamarand of Taylor, Joseph Peterson of Wyandotte and Frank Vaslo of Lincoln Park.

Assisting EmmaJean Woodyard, chairman of the event, are Trudelle and board members including Dee Howey, Karen Ranka, Karen Wilson Smithbauer and Faye Tabor.

Places to go . . .
Sept. 8 — Opening reception for an art exhibit juried by Monte Nagler, photographer, author and lecturer; 8 p.m. at the Wyandotte Arts Center, 81 Chestnut; the exhibit will continue through Oct. 21.

Sept. 10— Greater Grace Temple Outdoor Musical Outreach; 3 to 6 p.m. at 24111 Koths, Taylor; gospel singing, inspirational dancing and instrumental music; no charge; for more information, call (313) 295-4472.

Sept. 10, 11 — Old Car Festival at Greenfield Village spotlighting a replica of the 1770 Fardier de Cugnot, a steam-powered wheel cart; Sept. 11 activities will include music, dancing, a gaslight parade of cars, and fireworks; for admission charges and more information, call (313) 982-6001 or go to

Sept. 17 — Oakwood Southshore Medical Center 50th Anniversary Celebration; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the medical center, 5450 Fort St., Trenton; physician lec-tures, hospital tours, health screenings and refreshments.