By: Jessie Fisher—
Muncie, In—On Thursday, December 1, Cornerstone Center for the Arts hosted its Annual Donor & Community Reception. This is the second year for the event which recognizes the founders of the organization with awards named in their honor. This year, the event specifically recognized the efforts of the members of the Masonic Community Building Foundation which transitioned into the Community Arts and Building Foundation from 2001 to 2003 prior to the creation of Cornerstone Center for the Arts. These individuals were instrumental in the merger of the arts programming and building utilization efforts housed within the facility.
The first award acknowledges Beth Turcotte who stepped up to lead the organization for three years while taking a sabbatical from her position at Ball State University. Turcotte’s passion for the arts sparked a fire in the Muncie Community to rally behind this new organization. In her honor, Jasen Combs and Eugene Boyd were named the 2016 Beth Turcotte Arts Education Achievement recipients. Combs is one of the original teaching artists who has been with Cornerstone for the past 14 years. He heads up Cornerstone’s ceramics program and has represented the organization at many community events including: A Taste of Muncie, Meridian Health Service’s Rialzo, and First Thursday ArtsWalk. Combs has built Cornerstone’s ceramics program into one of the most successful of the organization’s offerings. Through his exceptional instruction, Combs has cultivated many life-long followers of clay, including Eugene Boyd. Boyd began taking ceramics at Cornerstone five years ago soon after his retirement. He fell in love with the art form and it became not only his hobby, but his passion. Boyd now teaches for Cornerstone and has introduced clay building to children from the YMCA’s Apple Tree, Boy and Girl Scout Troupes, Muncie’s AIM program, and Cornerstone’s arts camps. Boyd is always eager to represent Cornerstone at community events and is a true example of what Cornerstone’s arts program strives to accomplish.
Secondly, Cornerstone honored Judith Barnes who has volunteered her time and energy to Cornerstone since its inception. Barnes spent the past 17 years advocating for the arts community and doing everything in her power to help Cornerstone succeed. It is through selfless volunteers like her who help make Cornerstone’s programs and events possible. Zachary Allen was named the recipient of the 2016 Judith Barnes Spirit of Service Award. Allen has directed, recruited actors for, and starred in Cornerstone’s annual production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show for the past three years. This fundraiser welcomes hundreds of audience members each September to enjoy a truly unique performance put on entirely by volunteers. Allen spearhead’s the entertainment on a complete volunteer basis with all of the event’s proceeds going to Cornerstone. He works tirelessly for the months and weeks leading up to the event to put on the very best show possible. This event would be impossible without all of his hard work and dedication.
The third award of the evening celebrates the lives and legacies of Robert and Beverly Terhune. Since the creation of Muncie Center for the Arts, the Terhune family has worked tirelessly to support the organization financially, as well as with their time and talents. It is only fitting that Cornerstone’s corporate sponsors be recognized in honor of the Terhune’s. The 2016 Robert and Beverly Terhune Corporate Champion was awarded to Woof Boom Radio. Woof Boom is an incredible supporter of Cornestone and sponsors and helps promote many events throughout the year including: A Taste of Muncie, The Cornerstone Wedding Showcase, The All Hallows Eve Bash, Son of Scarevania, Haunted House, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and Main Street Cabaret. Having such a generous media partner helps to ensure the success of Cornerstone’s fundraising events.
Lastly, through his work at the Ball Brother’s Foundation, Douglas Bakken was instrumental in organizing the right team to establish the historic building as an arts center. His guidance and support through the merger that created Cornerstone Center for the Arts were crucial to the organization’s development. Even in retirement, Bakken continues to be an avid supporter of Cornerstone. It is through caring individuals like Doug Bakken and small businesses that Cornerstone is able to thrive. The clear choice for the 2016 Douglas Bakken Small Business Steward was Amy Spangler of Mr. Mouse. Not only is Mr. Mouse one of Cornerstone’s approved caterers but they consistently sponsor many of Cornerstone’s fundraisers including: A Taste of Muncie, The Cornerstone Wedding Showcase, and All Hallows Eve Bash. This year Spangler made a large donation of kitchen supplies to Cornerstone which the organization could not have otherwise purchase. Spangler’s consistent generosity and willingness to help Cornerstone makes her a perfect recipient for this award. Having community partners is vital to the success of Cornerstone and it is through these relationships that the organization is able to grow.
Each year Cornerstone will add the award recipients to a plaque that will be hung in the Founder’s Room on the second floor. This will preserve the legacy of the organization’s founders and donors as well as outstanding instructors, volunteers, corporate sponsors, and small business partners who go above and beyond to support Cornerstone Center for the Arts.
Cornerstone Center for the Arts is a non-profit organization with a mission to nurture community connections by providing opportunities for creative expression, educational programs, and events in a historic setting.