Erie Arts & Culture 2022 Appreciation Awards

Tuesday Feb 7th, 2023

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Congratulations to the Appreciation Awards Recipients!

For more than three decades, the Arts and Culture Appreciation Awards have recognized and honored those individuals, businesses, and organizations who use arts-based disciplines or deliver cultural programming to positively impact the Erie community. Each year EAC commissions an artist to make original artwork for the recipients. This year's commissioned artist is Kaersten Colvin-Woodruff.

Join us in recognizing and celebrating community members for their support and contribution to the creative and cultural sector. We will celebrate this year’s community award recipients at the Creative Crowd event on Feb 14 from 5:30 - 7:30 PM at GROUNDED Printshop. Come out to meet the awardees and other creative professionals!

 Again, thank you for your service to our community!

The 2022 community award recipients include:

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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award

City Gallery (Stephen Trohoske and Lena Logvina)

This award recognizes and celebrates organizations or individuals that have embraced diversity and inclusion as part of their core values and are committed to producing programs or environments where all persons and perspectives are welcomed and valued.

Stephen and Lena have worked diligently to create a gallery and event space that provides access to many different artistic disciplines. They have welcomed and provided a platform for visual, literary, and performing artists representing a range of lived experiences, identities,  perspectives, ability levels, and performances. They have also partnered with schools and community centers to exhibit artwork created by students and area youth. It is for these reasons that Erie Arts & Culture's staff have selected City Gallery to receive the 2022 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award. 

Learn more about City Gallery

City Gallery is the Love Child of Visual Artist Lena Logvina & Performing Artist/Musician Stephen Trohoske. Opened in September 2021, these long time Gallery Owners strive to bring an inclusive & diverse space to a rapidly, growing downtown. 

Lena Logvina was born in Kiev, Ukraine & brings her unique vision of her Eastern European Upbringing combined with her Life & Growth in Erie, Pennsylvania. Lena is more then strictly a visual artist, she has a talent for curating & producing diverse, successful shows, opening up the floor to a wide spectrum of Artists from all backgrounds & cultures. 

Stephen Trohoske has worked for over three decades as Performing Musician as well as a producer & promoter of Live Music Events. His main focus is bring together Eclectic, Musical Acts & Presentations that raise the level of Culture in our community. 

“This award means so very much to us & we are honored & thrilled that Erie Arts & Culture have recognized us for the exact & greatest reason  we started this journey. Thank you.”

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Leadership Award

Erie County Redevelopment Authority

The Leadership Award recognizes a business, government, or foundation that has either 1) demonstrated long term support for arts and culture, 2) significantly integrated arts and culture into their workplace, 3) collaborated with arts and cultural organizations or individual artists to serve the community, or 4) encouraged employees to serve as Board members or volunteers with arts and culture organizations.

The Erie County Redevelopment Authority demonstrated a commitment to creative entrepreneurs when they launched the stARTup Fund. They took their commitment further when they welcomed artists into the former EMI building to salvage and reclaim materials before the building is raised. Additionally, they committed themselves to a commendable public art project that will be located at the new business park located in the heart of Erie's industrial corridor.  It is for these reasons that Erie Arts & Culture's staff have selected the Erie County Redevelopment Authority to receive the 2022 Leadership Award.

Learn more about Erie County Redevelopment Authority

Tina Mengine has a long and distinguished public service career primarily focused on economic development and revitalization of Northwestern Pennsylvania. For the last three years, Mengine has been leading change and growth throughout Erie County as President & CEO of the Erie County Redevelopment Authority (ECRDA).

Committed to and focused on improving the quality of life in Erie, Mengine has worked to incorporate art and design into economic development, recognizing that a sense of place is essential to economic and community growth.

Under Mengine’s leadership, ECRDA has spearheaded economic growth by helping hundreds of businesses expand and grow and by tackling industrial blight rehabilitation and site development.

Partnering ECRDA with the former StARTup Incubator, Mengine established the StARTup Grant Program designed to assist fledging creative businesses with financial assistance through grants. To date, $190,000 has been awarded to 44 new businesses. As ECRDA leads the revitalization of the 12th Street corridor, public art will play a key role in the transformation. The first project at the former EMI site at 12th & Cherry will not only feature an innovative public art display, but the building redesign will be architecturally striking as well.

As Chief of Staff for former Erie Mayor Filippi, Mengine led all city departments including the Office of Community & Economic Development. With a focus on rebuilding the downtown and tourism industry, Mengine established the Office of Cultural Affairs, from which grew well-attended and highly publicized events such as CelebrateErie, Downtown Fridays and Downtown D’Lights which helped jumpstart downtown Erie’s revitalization.

Mengine is the recipient of numerous awards, notably Women Making History, the Commitment to Erie Award, the Community Impact Award, and Ad Person of the Year.

Mengine holds a Bachelor of Science from LaRoche University and leadership certifications, including a Certificate in Change Leadership from Cornell University.

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Applause Award

Zach Flock 

The Applause Award recognizes a dedicated individual, or group of individuals, who demonstrate a long-term commitment to either service or support of the arts and culture sector in our community.

Zach Flock convened a small and dedicated group of theatre lovers to form Dramashop in 2011. Since its formation, Dramashop has demonstrated a track record of diversifying the theatre offerings in Erie County. They continue to identify and cultivate local talent while also sharing the stories of emerging playwrights and setting the stage for provocative theatre experiences. Zach served as the Artistic Director of Dramashop until 2022, when he stepped aside to allow others to contribute to shaping the future of the organization. It is for these reasons that Erie Arts & Culture's staff have selected Zach Flock to receive the 2022 Applause Award. 

Learn more about Zach Flock


Zach Flock, a native of southwestern Pennsylvania, came to Erie to study at Gannon University, and spent the next two-plus decades building a home in the Erie theatre community. A lifelong theatre geek, he parlayed his love of community theatre into a passion for public service. Having spent time on the board of the Erie Playhouse and directing for Gannon’s Shakespeare Summer Nights, Zach and a group of like-minded artists founded Dramashop in 2011, with a mission to provide entertaining and provocative theatrical experiences designed to challenge and engage the Erie community. As founding artistic director, Zach produced 11 seasons and more than 70 productions of bold, creative theatre, filling a void left by the closing of several niche theatres in the early 2000s. During the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Zach was instrumental in Dramashop’s pivot to innovative, online delivery and eventual return to safe, in-person theatre. A producer, director, actor, designer and playwright, Zach stepped down from Dramashop following the 2021-22 season and currently lives in New Stanton, PA, with his wife, Jessica, and their dachshunds, Millie and Eleanor. Zach holds a B.A. in Theatre & Communication Arts, and a Master’s in Public Administration, both from Gannon University. He is currently employed as Director of Marketing & Communications for Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA.

"It's an honor to be recognized for my work at Dramashop, especially as a new generation of artists takes on leadership of this great organization. I've always viewed my role in Erie's theatre community as a public service -- something not done for my own betterment, but for the betterment of the community. It takes a team to produce great theatre, and an entire community to keep great theatre afloat. I'm grateful to Erie Arts & Culture for acknowledging any contributions I've made to the rich tapestry that is Erie's vibrant theatre community. We are so lucky to have so many diverse offerings right here in our backyard. Though I've moved on to other opportunities, I will always carry a special place for Erie's theatre community in my heart. Helming Dramashop for 11 years was the honor of a lifetime, and to receive any recognition for that work is icing on the cake. I'm humbled by this opportunity."


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Carla Hughes Art Educator Award

Lourdes Jasso

The Carla Hughes Art Educator Award, formerly the Imagine Award, recognizes an educator or instructor whose efforts have made an outstanding contribution to the community by using arts and culture in an educational setting to inspire and empower their students. It is named in honor of the late Carla Hughes. 

The Inner City Neighborhood Art House has played an integral role in engaging countless youth from the City of Erie through their afterschool and summer programs. Lourdes Jasso has served as both an artist instructor and administrator at the Art House and has played a tremendous role in shaping the organization and the youth who participate in and benefit from their programs. Lourdes helps expand the knowledge, perspectives, and skills of students through her classes in photography, digital arts, and assemblage. But, perhaps even more importantly, Lourdes sees her students fully and completely, which helps create an environment where young minds want to be present and engaged. Additionally, as an administrator, Lourdes has created opportunities for other dynamic artists in Erie to come into the Art House and share their talents.  It is for these reasons that Erie Arts & Culture's staff have selected Lourdes Jasso to receive the 2022 Carla Hughes Art Educator Award. 

Learn more about Lourdes Jasso

Lourdes Jasso Tellez was born in 1983 in Acambaro, Guanajuato, Mexico. By the age 3, she and her parents immigrated to the United States along with her two sisters. Lourdes grew up in Chicago, immersed in the working class and vibrant Latino culture of her surroundings. As a youngster she participated in Mexican Folkloric Dance performances. Her artistic efforts eventually culminated into a passion for photography, while a student in high school. It was a passion she carried with her out of the barrio and into college.

 In 2005, Lourdes earned her Bachelor of Arts in Photography from Colombia College Chicago. From that point on, she knew she would be able to change the lives of inner-city youth with the same art form that saved her own life from the more negative aspects of Chicago’s inner city. 

Lourdes’ vast experiences in arts and education include working in the Photography Department at Columbia College Chicago, along with the Museum of Contemporary Photography's Exhibition Department. Lourdes participated in the collaboration between the Museum of Contemporary Photography’s Education Department and the Chicago Public Schools, to bring photography classes to inner city students, exposing them to both traditional and digital photographic processes as a form of creative self-expression

In 2007, Lourdes moved with her family to Erie, Pennsylvania in search of new opportunities. For the past fourteen years she has been using her lifelong skills to transform the way youth see the world at the Benedictine Sisters of Erie Inner-City Neighborhood Art House as Program Director, where inner city youth are introduced to a variety of artistic mediums to help them self-express. Her ties to the community include her seat on the Erie Democratic Committee as the Committeewoman for the Sixth Ward, Sixth District. She serves as a mentor for Gaia Youth United, a teen group of girls who want to create action surrounding social justice topics. Lourdes is VP of Folk/Traditional Arts for the CHROMA Guild and has also served on the Erie Jazz Fest Artist Committee.  Lourdes’ commitment to the Erie community was recognized when she was nominated to be in the Erie’s 40 Under 40: Class of 2019. She is currently pursuing her career as a mixed media artist with a focus on social justice causes. In this work, Lourdes seeks to center the experiences of Mexican immigrant women in the United States.


Quote: I am very passionate about the work that I do, I am living proof of the positive impact the arts can have on the life of a young person. It is an honor to receive the Carla Hughes Art Educator Award.

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Bruce Morton Wright Artist of the Year Award
Sue Amendolara

The Bruce Morton Wright Artist of the Year Award recognizes an individual artist of any media who is process-oriented and has served as an influencer or mentor in Erie's arts and culture community. It is named in honor of the late Bruce Morton Wright. 

Sue Amendolara received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Miami University in 1985 and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Jewelry Design/Metalsmithing from Indiana University in 1988. She started teaching Jewelry Design/Metalsmithing at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, now PennWest Edinboro, in 1991. She served as President of the Society of North American Goldsmiths from 2011-2014. 

Sue's metalwork has been exhibited regionally and nationally in galleries and museums including the American Craft Museum (New York, NY), The National Ornamental Metal Museum (Memphis, TN), and the Seattle Art Museum (Seattle, WA). Her work has been included in international exhibitions in Germany, Switzerland, and Japan. Sue has been the recipient of Fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (1994, 1999, and 2003) and a Mid-Atlantic/NEA Regional Fellowship (1995). Her work is part of the permanent collections at the Carnegie Museum of Art (Pittsburgh, PA), the Ohio Craft Museum (Columbus, Ohio), the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum (Washington D.C.), and the White House Collection of American Crafts (Washington D.C.). 

Sue's tenure at Edinboro University concluded in 2022. During her time as an educator, she invested her time and talents into cultivating the talent of emerging artists enrolled at Edinboro. Now in retirement, Sue is redirecting her time, energy, and attention into her personal arts practice.  It is for these reasons that Erie Arts & Culture's staff have selected Sue Amendolara to receive the Bruce Morton Wright Artist of the Year Award.

Learn more about Sue Amendolara

Sue Amendolara received a Master of Fine Arts degree in Jewelry Design/Metalsmithing from Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. She taught Jewelry Design/Metalsmithing at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania for 31 years and retired in 2022. She was President of the Society of North American Goldsmiths and served on the Board of Governors at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, TN. Amendolara's metalwork has been exhibited regionally and nationally in juried and invitational exhibitions in galleries and museums throughout the United States for over thirty-five years. Her work has been included in international exhibitions in Germany, Switzerland, Poland, Korea, Thailand and Japan. Articles have been written about her work in Ornament, American Craft and Metalsmith magazines. Her work is included in over 20 books and she has presented lectures and workshops at universities, museums and craft centers around the world. Her work is part of the permanent collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, The Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C. and the White House Collection of American Crafts, Washington D.C. Regionally, her work is part of the collection at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA, the Ohio Craft Museum, Columbus, Ohio, the Racine Art Museum in Racine, Wisconsin, the Kamm Teapot Foundation, Sparta, NC and the Erie Art Museum, Erie, PA.

"I am honored to receive this award from Erie Arts and Culture and grateful to live in a community filled with talented and generous artists. My involvement with the community and teaching at Edinboro University (PennWest) has influenced and inspired my work for decades. I look forward to the next chapter amongst my peers."

Join us for the February Creative Crowd!

Please join us for the second Creative Crowd gathering of the year! We'll gather at GROUNDED PRINTSHOP (1902 Cherry St, Erie) on Tuesday, Feb 14 from 5:30 to 7:30 PM. Meet other creative and cultural professionals and the EAC team for an evening of networking. We'll also honor the 2022 Appreciation Award recipients!

These monthly meet-ups are designed to provide a friendly and casual space to foster stronger personal and professional connections within the creative and cultural sector. The recurring program takes place the second Tuesday of every month from 5:30 - 7:30. Host sites rotate from month to month to allow for new experiences and connections.

Wayfinding: 1902 Cherry St, Erie, PA 16502. Pull into the fenced in parking lot and the building you will enter is a big grey warehouse. Enter through one of the green doors.

Let's give a warm welcome to our 3 new hosts - Precious, Jess, and Kelvin!

Funding for the Creative Crowd was provided by PNC.

Register here

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