Annual Night of Distinction Celebrated at Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art

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The annual Night of Distinction was held April 16 at the University’s Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art (SAMA).

Beginning in 2011, SAMA has hosted an annual Night of Distinction “to honor individuals and organizations that have impacted SAMA, the arts and their communities.”

In addition to honoring individuals and organizations for their contributions and service, this year’s program celebrated the museum’s 40th anniversary.

“This year takes on an added significance,” said Gary Moyer, the executive director of SAMA.

Four awards were presented.

The awards included the Service to the Arts Award, the Volunteerism Award, the Award for Artistic Distinction and the Award for Architectural Excellence.

The Service to the Arts Award was presented to Margaret and Michael Strueber.

Original director of SAMA from 1967 to 2000, Strueber now serves as a trustee of the Board. His wife also supported the museum through activities throughout the years.

SAMA Vice President of the Board of Trustees, Ann Benzel, presented the Service of the Arts Award to the Struebers.

“It’s an opportunity for us to bestow and display our gratitude,” said Benzel.

“We hope that by honoring them we can convey our gratitude for all that they have given us and that we can raise awareness for others to follow in their vision.”

The Volunteerism Award was presented to Karen Azer and Mary Borkow, both members of the SAMA Board of Trustees. They have been involved in many community and civic programs and projects in the Johnstown area.

Chase Fagan was presented the Award for Artistic Distinction. He is a practicing artist in North Carolina.

Originally from Ligonier, Pennsylvania, Fagan is known for his pieces on Barbara Bush, George Bush and other celebrities across the nation.

The Award for Architectural Excellence was presented to Bedford Springs’ Omni Hotels & Resorts.

The Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, now the longest running satellite museum system in the country, opened in June of 1976 on Saint Francis’ campus “to preserve, exhibit and advance American art.”

“This museum is very fortunate to have the volunteers that set up every year to help drive excellence,” said Moyer. “These individuals have shown support for the arts and should be recognized.”

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