"Without the arts, the community is just a collection of people."
Florence Keen Sansom, the Council’s Citizen of
That's what former Cape Coral city manager Terry Stewart said after the Cape Coral Council for Arts and Humanities presented its annual awards luncheon at the Palmetto Pines Country Club this week.
The importance of the arts was not lost on community leaders, as Mayor Marni Sawicki, numerous city council members and others honored the people and organizations that help support that freedom of expression.
June Sommerfield, president of the council, said everyone who came to the event has contributed in some way to the cultural arts.
"Even if they don't do something by being on the board, they are all doing something for the arts," Sommerfield said. "It's important for the survival of the community. Our motto is 'Culture is the Fabric of Life.'"
The event included a musical performance by Stewart and the election and installation of officers, who were the same as last year, with Sommerfield as president, Phyllis Shelton as vice president, Marjorie Elo as treasurer and Monica Rahman as secretary.
The event also honored Florence Keen Sansom as the Council's Citizen of the Year, for her work as a featured artist in The News-Press, her membership in the Cape Coral Art League and her creation of and teaching artwork.
"Whether through cosmetology, creating and teaching artwork, providing the lovely musings in "Edisonia Girl" or simply being an inspiration to many, Florence has spent a long lifetime making Southwest Florida a more beautiful place," Sommerfield said in her prepared speech.
Sansom, 96, was unable to attend. Rahman, who also earned the certificate of commendation, accepted the award on her behalf.
The Rotary Club of Cape Coral North earned the Organization of the Year, with Shelton accepting.
"It was a surprise. We are trying our best to support our community, and this is an organization that deserves our attention for the Stars of Tomorrow program in the fall," Shelton said. "Without the arts, we wouldn't have much."
"Arts and humanities are very important to our community and June does an incredible job with it," Sawicki said. "The Cape is arts influenced and can be even more, so hopefully we can get more organizations involved."
The Cape Coral Council for Arts and Humanities supports the visual arts and holds events such as the Stars of Tomorrow scholarship program and talent contest for area youth in the fall.