December 19, 2009 8:47:00 PM
The Starkville Area Arts Council''s Award of Excellence in the Arts is bestowed upon the individual, group or organization that has done the most to promote the inculcation of the arts for the cultural, educational, social, ethnic and/or economic vitality within the Starkville area during the preceding year.
The Starkville Area Arts Council recently announced that Andrew Gaston is the 2009 recipient of the SAAC Award of Excellence in the Arts.
Although not an artist, Gaston was an early proponent of promoting the arts as a crucial cultural tool for enhancing community. While the SAAC was still in its infancy, Gaston recognized the organization was the proper vehicle for raising the cultural bar for the area. He has worked tirelessly and unselfishly in this endeavor, visioning the future of the arts in Starkville, recruiting leadership for the council, and serving in leadership roles within the council, including a term as president.
Gaston was instrumental in the development of the Arts Council''s Patrons program, one of the primary funding mechanisms utilized for funding arts-related scholarships, grants and activities. In addition, Gaston played a crucial role in organizing the logistics of the Cotton District Arts Council for many years.
Barb Adkins, a past president of the SAAC, adds, "Andy Gaston''s selfless commitment to the arts in Starkville and the surrounding community is evident in all he does. He has opened the doors of his business to the Starkville Area Arts Council''s Bully auction the past two years. He has served as one of the integral committee chairs for the annual Cotton District Arts Festival since I have known him (11 years). He was an outstanding mentor during my year as president. He welcomes residents and newcomers to all of Starkville''s featured art events. He is truly an advocate of the arts."