Arts & Honors night event fetes promoters of culture

By Evelyn Cairns
Nearly 130 people gathered at the Wyandotte Arts Center Sept. 15 to recognize three individuals and two organizations for promoting the arts, culture and quality of life in the Downriver area.

The occasion was the Downriver Council for the Arts’ first Arts & Honors night program.

The honorees included James Keith Coleman of Taylor, a sculptor, who received the DCA Artist/Performer Award; Ken Wojciak, a teacher in the Melvindale Northern Allen Park Schools, the Arts Educator Award; and soprano Lara Semetko of Grosse Ile, the Young Artist/Performer Award.

In addition, Sandra Baughman accepted the Patron Award on behalf of the Oakwood Healthcare System, and Virginia Pieratt, the Downriver Council for the Arts Award on behalf of the DCA Founders’ Society.

Coleman, who was a plumber for 30 years before pursuing art full time, says he is “trying to make Wyandotte and Downriver the art capital of the world, one piece at a time.”

His works include metal sculptures of the Wyandotte Roosevelt High School bear mascot and the bull at the city’s Merrill Lynch office.

Wojciek is known for transforming his classrooms into cultural environments by integrating art with social studies.

Semetko, a junior at Central Michigan University and the recipient of many awards and scholarships, was the runner-up in the last year’s Downriver Idol contest.

Baughman is coordinator of the Oakwood Art for the Spirit program, which displays and promotes the works of local artists.

Founders’ Society members were honored for their generous support of the DCA during the move to the Arts Center. In addition to Pieratt, they are Shirley Ciungan, John Colina, the Prechter Family Fund-World Heritage Foundation, Norma Wurmlinger and Hezekiah Zeiber, in memory of Myrtle Ray Zeiber and Jill Sharon Sheridon.

Doug Scott played the piano as the guests arrived, and Angie Ferrante, director of the AKT Theatre Project, was the master of ceremonies. Providing entertainment were members of the Theatre project, the Downriver Youth Performing Center and the East River Folk Society.

The Southgate Bakery contributed miniature pastries and a cake decorated with the DCA logo and a congratulatory message.

The presenting sponsor was Noel Jackson, D.D.S., of Jackson Dental Design Studio.

Planning committee members included EmmaJean Woodyard, chairman; Dee Howey; Karen Ranka; Karen Wilson Smithbauer; Faye Tabor; and Tammy Trudelle, DCA executive director.

Zook to open SGLS season
Flutist Jeffrey Zook, will be the soloist for the opening concert of the Southern Great Lakes Symphony season at 3 p.m. Oct. 2 at the Flat Rock Com-munity Auditorium. He also will teach a master class at 1 p.m. prior to the concert.

Zook will be the soloist for the “Flute Concerto No. 1 in G,” by Mozart, and the “Flute Concerto in G Minor” (La Notte), by Vivaldi.

The orchestra also will play the “Overture to the Barber of Seville,” by Rossini; “Pavane” by Faure, and “Symphony No. 97,” by Haydn.

A piccoloist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Zook has served on the faculties of the University of Michigan School of Music, Oakland University and Central Michigan University.

A concert ticket is required for admission to the mas-ter class.

For concert tickets, $25, call (734) 246-2890 or go to

Charles Greenwell is the music director and conductor of the orchestra.

Places to go . . .
Sept. 30 — Art, Music & Performance event; 5 to 9 p.m. on Biddle Ave., in Downtown Wyandotte; live performances, music and art; most of the city’s stores will remain open during the event.

Oct. 1 — ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) 11th annual Walk ‘n’ Roll for ALS fundraiser at Lake Erie Metropark in Brownstown; registration at 10 a.m., walk at 11; for more information, call (800) 882-5764 or go to

Oct. 8 — Downriver Council for the Arts’ Monster Mash Bash: 6 to 11 p.m. at the Wyandotte Arts Center; tickets ($25 or $45 per couple), include dancing, food and a glow-in-the dark art exhibit; for instructions on creating glow-in-the-dark art or for party details, call (734) 270-0671 or go to