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Fredonia Opera House wins high honors

Fredonia Opera House Executive Director Rick Davis accepted the Organization of the Year award, which was announced Monday.

The 1891 Fredonia Opera House Performing Arts Center has been named the 2020 WNY Arts Organization of the Year in the seventh annual Arts Services Initiative of WNY Spark Awards competition. The awards are presented annually by the ASI to honor outstanding artists and cultural organizations in five counties of Western New York and were presented in a virtual ceremony which live streamed on YouTube Monday.

The Spark Award name was inspired by Auguste Rodin’s pronouncement that “the artist must create a spark before he can make a fire; and before art is born, the artist must be ready to be consumed by the fire of his own creation.” To recognize outstanding individuals and organizations for their dedication, talent and impact on the cultural sector, awards are given annually for Lifetime Achievement, Rising Star, Arts Integration, Unsung Hero, Supporter of the Cultural Sector, Arts Trailblazer, Decentralization Grant Program of the Year, Artist of the Year, and Arts Organization of the Year.

Opera House Executive Director Rick Davis accepted the award on behalf of the organization. “We are so grateful to the Arts Services Initiative for all the work it does in serving the arts and for recognizing the Opera House this year. We couldn’t be more excited!” he notes. “Congratulations to the other winners and finalists, all of whom add immensely to western New York’s rich cultural landscape! And, of course, thank you to the Opera House’s members and contributors, who have supported and sustained us for the past 26 years.”

The Opera House was nominated for “enhancing the cultural landscape of Chautauqua County since its grand reopening in November 1994 and creating a niche for itself as a year-round presenter of varied and quality entertainment amidst a thriving arts community.” In 2019 – its 25th year – the Opera House celebrated its growth from a performance space for local arts groups to a full-fledged venue presenting national and international artists with a new name and logo: 1891 Fredonia Opera House Performing Arts Center.

The name change reflects the breadth and variety of its current programming while paying tribute to its history. Programs that include: live music, theatre and dance; an independent Cinema Series; live high definition satellite broadcasts of opera productions from NYC’s Metropolitan Opera, theatre from London’s National Theatre, and ballet from Moscow’s Bolshoi Ballet; an annual three-day Bach & Beyond Baroque Music Festival; and the Art & Architecture On Screen series of programs focusing on masterpieces and their museum custodians; among others. All total, the venue has presented nearly 3,000 performances since its reopening 25 years ago!

The Opera House was one of three organizations named a finalist in the Arts Organization of the Year category; the other finalists were O’Connell & Company Productions and Unique Theatre Company.

The 1891 Fredonia Opera House is a member-supported not-for-profit organization located in Village Hall in downtown Fredonia. For a complete schedule of events, visit “http://www.fredopera.org” www.fredopera.org

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