2012 Elisha Darlin Award Announced

Arts supporters save the date!  The Dubuque County Fine Arts Society will present the Elisha Darlin Arts Award to Connie Twining and Stormy Mochal Friday, February 24, 2012 6:30 p.m. at The Hotel Julien.

Each year, the Dubuque County Fine Arts Society (DCFAS) presents the Elisha Darlin Arts Award in recognition of the contributions of an individual or group to the arts and cultural landscape of the community.  Past recipients include artists in a variety of media, arts organizers, advocates, patrons, and those involved in the promotion of arts and culture.  This year, Fine Arts Society presents the Elisha Darlin Arts Award to Connie Twining and Stormy Mochal, co-owners of Outside the Lines Art Gallery at 409 Bluff Street in Dubuque.  Connie and Stormy have been an integral part of the Dubuque arts community since first working together at the Rocco Buda Gallery.  2011 saw the pair celebrate the inaugural year of their Great Draw sidewalk art competition and Scholarship fund.  An Award Celebration to honor Connie Twining and Stormy Mochal is scheduled for Friday, February 24 from 6:30 p.m. at The Hotel Julien.

Both Connie and Stormy have a long history with the Dubuque County Fine Arts Society.  They met in 2002 while Connie was chair of the DCFAS’ Rocco Buda Gallery where Stormy, a recent Loras graduate, was given one of her first commercial art shows.  After a great experience working together on a second gallery show and DCFAS’ annual Dubuquefest fine arts fair weekend, Stormy approached Connie in summer of 2003 about forming a new commercial gallery together to replace the recently closed Rocco Buda Gallery.  The two wasted no time and by November of that year they were holding their first opening in the Bluff Street space now occupied by Monk’s Kaffee Pub.

Outside the Lines Art Gallery has grown from representing about 35 artists at its inception to over 85 local and regional artists.  This growth demanded more gallery space, and in 2005 the move was made to the current location at 409 Bluff Street.  OTLAG currently stands as the sole commercial art gallery in Dubuque and provides local artists the invaluable opportunity to profit from their art.  In an era where grants and institutional support for artists have become more and more scarce, Connie Twining and Stormy Mochal have dedicated themselves to the idea of helping support the working artist.

In addition to their labors at OTLAG, Connie and Stormy had both long imagined creating a scholarship for visual art students.  An online encounter with renowned street artist Julie Kirk-Purcell began to take shape as an opportunity to incorporate a street art demonstration with a competition and fundraiser for the scholarship fund.  The Great Draw was born out of this idea in 2011 and was a huge success, hosting 60 competitors in four categories, Under 12, Teen, Adult, and Artist.  $850 was raised for the scholarship fund, which will be presented to a deserving art student from Dubuque Senior High School pursuing a secondary arts education.  Additionally, $950 in prize money was awarded and funding help was received in the forms of an Art Gumbo Grant, and Iowa Arts Council grant, and a grant from Alliant Energy.  The 3rd weekend of September 2012 will see the second annual Great Draw and is already a highly anticipated event.

An annual award presented by the Dubuque County Fine Arts Society, the Elisha Darlin Arts Award honors an individual or group that has made an outstanding contribution to the arts.  Named for the late Elisha Darlin, an educator and founding board member of Fine Arts Society, past recipients of the award include Ruth and Russ Nash, Sue Riedel, Lenore Howard and Doug Donald, Sue Flogel, Bob Woodward, Gail Chavenelle, Sandye Voight, Gene Tully, Fran and Ellen Henkels, former Dubuque City Councilwoman Ann Michalski, and the Dubuque Cultural Preservation Committee among many others.

Last year’s award recipient was Margi Burr, educational director at the Dubuque Museum of Art.

Dubuque County Fine Arts Society will present the Elisha Darlin Arts Award on Friday, February 24 in the Grand Ballroom of the Hotel Julien.  Admission (to be determined) will be available at the door.  The evening will begin with a cocktail reception from 6:30 to 7:30, followed by dinner and the awards program honoring Connie Twining and Stormy Mochal.  The evening will include a live band and slides from Outside the Lines and The Great Draw.

Admission Price and RSVP information is on the way, keep an eye here.