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Fourth Annual Spark Awards at Hotel Henry Honors Local Leaders in Arts & Culture

Tomorrow, the fourth annual Spark Awards presented by Arts Services Initiative of WNY, Inc. will bring together local artists and the business community to celebrate those who ignite arts and culture in Western New York.  The event is described as, “an evening filled with awards, live performances, food, an open bar and a live art raffle and the new Hotel Henry in the Richardson Complex!” With over 80 nominations, a panel of cultural representatives from throughout Western New York selected the following 2016-17 winners.

Lifetime Achievement – Anthony C. ConteArts Integration – Roswell Park Cancer Institute

Advocate for the Cultural Sector – WNED | WBFO

DEC Program of the Year – University District Community Development Association, Inc. in collaboration with Nicholas Conrad Miller for “Bailey Fights Blight” Mural Program

Legacy Award – M. Jacquie Lodico

Rising Star- Jon Lehrer

Supporter of the Cultural Sector – M&T Bank

Unsung Hero – Rita Argen Auerbach

The panel also selected finalists in the following categories, with the winners to be announced at the event:

Artist of the Year Finalists:
Drea d’Nur
David Moog
Gary Sczerbaniewicz

Cultural Organization of the Year Finalists:
The 1891 Fredonia Opera House
Kenan Center
Springville Center for the Arts

This year’s Spark Cultural Awards Party will be hosted by 7 Eyewitness News WKBW‘s Mike Randall.

Tickets are $100 and can be purchased by clicking here. Proceeds of the Spark Awards will benefit ASI’s capacity building, collaboration, and advocacy efforts for the cultural sector in five counties; all of which is provided free of charge. A limited number of free tickets are always made available through ASI’s Arts Access Program at

Arts Services Initiative of Western New York (ASI) promotes the cultural sector’s vital role in economic development and the community through capacity building, collaboration, and advocacy in Erie, Niagara, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, and Allegany Counties.

Arts Services Initiative assists the Western New York arts and cultural community (both non-profits and individual artists) with funding opportunities, programmatic opportunities, resources, advocacy. ASI is a member of the New York Council of Non Profits (NYCON), Americans for the Arts, Greater Buffalo Cultural Alliance, Amherst of Chamber of Commerce, One Region Forward, NY Funders Alliance, and the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

Written by Jessica Marinelli

Jessica Marinelli

Jessica Marinelli is a WNY native, born and raised in the Lincoln Park area of Tonawanda. She has been involved in local politics from an early age and is currently a Tonawanda Democratic Committee Member. As an avid equestrian and animal-lover, she trained and re-homed over 40 horses. For over a decade, she was an event planner with the law firm, Hodgson Russ LLP, and now owns her own marketing and event management company. She has worked with international and national organizations on large and small scale events. Jessica writes on politics and local events, as well as working with Buffalo Rising as a social reporter.

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