ELLIOTT BRACK'S PERSPECTIVE
Fincher wins national lifetime achievement award for painting
By ELLIOTT BRACK
Editor and publisher
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MARCH 12, 2013 -- Kathy Fincher of Duluth didn't know what she was getting into on Saturday night when she was invited to High Point (N.C.) University to attend the second Save the Arts Foundation awards program. It ended up she was to be given the prestigious Quintessence Award for her lifetime achievement as a painter. The first such award went to Artist Peter Max.
The Save the Arts Foundation awards are akin to the Oscars or a Grammy award in other fields, recognizing artists in sculpture, painting, architecture; and photography.
The awards stem from Songwriter Rasheem Pugh, who wrote the music for the Grammy five-time winning album, "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill". Mr. Pugh, founder of the organization, was motivated to create an awards program for artistic creativity when he had to fight to gain recognition of his work, since major awards go to the performing artist, not the originator of the work.
Other winners for 2013 are impressive. They include sculptors; Carole Feuerman and Jon Hair. Feurerman, from New York City, designs large public works displayed internationally and currently an exhibit in the John Hancock building; Hair with more than 200 public works- including the Olympics- has more than 30 bronzes at High Point University; Architecture: Dina Griffin, of Chicago, Ill., built the modern wing of Chicago's Art Institute. Photography: Oba Aefunmi III, of Key West; N.C.; Heather Evans, from Winston Salem, N.C. All were present at the ceremony in High Point on Saturday. A special award was presented to nationally-acclaimed photographer Otis Harrison of Greensboro for his historical photography of the civil rights. Painting; Kathy Fincher; Art Advocate & educator, Congresswoman Alma Adams of Greensboro, N.C., is the co-founder of the African American Atelier
It was a tumultuous evening for Kathy, first picked up by a limousine, then literally walking the red carpet for the awards program. After the three hour event, the winners were feted at a sumptuous buffet at the university.
Because of circumstances, Kathy almost did not pay attention to going to the awards. When she first got notification of her nomination, Kathy's mother, Margaret Andrews, was in hospice care and Kathy did not read the letter carefully. "Had I read it, I would have learned that 'galleries, museums, and curators from across the country voted on my work' and I was the semi-finalist. The letter also said 'that by accepting the nomination I was also agreeing to attending.' But it was about a nomination, not an award. It was not the type of 'nomination' of which I was familiar. It was like the Academy Awards where you attend because you're nominated."
But when speaking to Pugh over the phone, Pugh told her she would be the recipient of the same award Peter Max had won the year before. She also learned that Lynn Pittard, the founder of The Artist's Television Network, had nominated her. The two have a mutual friend, so Kathy called Pittard, who told her "Receiving this award was the highlight of my art career; I'm looking at it right now and it's beautiful. They treated me like a princess and I'm the one who nominated you, Kathy. However, it was the museums and galleries around the country that voted on your art for you to receive the award."
That did it for Kathy, who headed for High Point on Saturday, walked the red carpet, was interviewed by the press, and got the award. "It made me feel so incredibly special. I'm still pinching myself!"
So congratulations are in order for Kathy Fincher. It is quite an honor for a Gwinnettian.