LIMA — Quality of life in a community is often tied to such factors as employment, housing or schools. At the Lima Rotary Club meeting Monday at Veterans Memorial Civic and Convention Center, another important quality-of-life element was highlighted during the Arts Advocacy Collaborative of West Central Ohio’s fifth annual awards presentation.
“This is about recognizing individuals in the community who support the creative arts, whether it’s with their own talents, whether they teach or whether they’re philanthropic and support it that way,” according to Kathleen Phipps, host of “Scenic Stops” on WBGU-TV. “It’s important because we have a thriving arts community, and these people need to be recognized.”
While the arts may not be the first thing people think of when it comes to Lima, Phipps pointed out several businesses and attractions that exemplify the city’s artistic heritage.
“We have all kinds of arts, music, theater,” she said. “We have Encore Theatre, the Civic Center and ArtSpace/Lima, so this is a thriving area for the arts.”
Honored this year were Chad Stearns of Modo Media, who received the advocacy award, sculptors Dave and Bob Lepo of Lepo Works in the artist catagory, and the Tom Ahl family, who received the philanthropy award.
“Art brings value to the community,” Phipps said. “Over the past five years, we’ve also had winners like George Dunster, Harry Shutt and Bill Sullivan.”
Stearns, who through Modo Media has helped with website, video and other design projects, along with helping to create Octopus Productions, the group behind the recent production of “Cabaret” at the Ohio Theatre, called this award “a huge honor.”
“We have a lot of great people here,” he said. “We’ve got a great group of people who support the arts.”
Stearns sees great potential for Lima to continue to expand as a center for arts and culture.
“I see all the talent that’s here,” he said. “I think it’s just about putting the pieces together. We have these facilities and this great backdrop, but it’s the people here. This fills people’s souls.”
Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0390 or on Twitter @Lima_CKelly.