St. Andrews to Honor Four With Ragan Fine Arts Awards
Four distinguished fine arts awards will be presented Thursday night to the recipients of the 28th Annual Sam Ragan Fine Arts Awards at St. Andrews Presbyterian College.
The honorees include Lois Holt, of Pinehurst, for her work with literary programs; Martha Blue Hooks, of Laurinburg for art; Thomas Heffernan, of Laurinburg, for poetry; and Sally Ann Morris, of Winston-Salem, for music.
"Each year, we honor distinguished North Carolinians -- past and present," said Ron Bayes, chairman of the Ragan Awards Committee. "Honorees are persons who have, over a long period, been outstanding practitioners of their art, and who have selflessly shared their talent with other creators, working in their primary genre and beyond."
Holt, a Durham native, is an award-winning poet who relocated to the Sandhills 15 years ago. Recently retired from BB&T, she was a longtime friend of Ragan who was appointed to the board of the Friends of Weymouth, where she served as president for five years. She currently serves as chairman of the arts and humanities committee and as a member of the capital development committee. She has also served on the advisory board of the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame.
In 2001, Holt was honored as a Rotary fellow for helping raise more than $3 million for community programs in Moore County. In 2008, the Sandhills Business and Professional Women recognized her for her contributions and leadership.
Holt is a freelance writer and a regular columnist for The Pilot. Her weekly community service program "People With a Purpose" can be heard at 8:15 a.m. on Monday on WIOZ 550 AM.
A Scotland County native, Hooks holds the distinction of being the only person to exhibit a flower arrangement in the North Carolina Museum of Art with the Japanese Kimono exhibit. Her arrangements have been also been exhibited in the North Carolina State School of Design, Lord and Taylor and Neiman Marcus in Atlanta, as well as the front window of Ivey's in Raleigh and many other Raleigh area malls.
She is a National Flower Show judge emeritus and a professor of the Ikenobo School of Japanese Flower Arranging. Hooks was president of the North Carolina Ikenobo Society for 10 years, is a former member and vice president of South Five Ikenobo Society in Atlanta and is presently a member of the Blue Ridge Ikenobo Society where she studies twice a year with a Japanese Master. She had a private Ikenobo class in Raleigh for 30 years.
Hooks is a former member of the Haiku Society of North Carolina and served in multiple capacities for the Garden Club of North Carolina. She served on the St. Andrews Presbyterian College Press Board for 10 years as well as being a member of the Board of Visitors.
Heffernan, a poet and haiku master, has received numerous awards for his work, including the grand prize in the 11th International Kusamakura Haiku Competition in Tokyo, Japan. Currently a visiting professor of English at St. Andrews, Heffernan has also shared his knowledge through a "Season Words for the Places Where We Live" workshop before Haiku writers, editors, teachers and publishers from the United States, England and Japan.
One of his haikus was selected for inclusion in the annual anthology published in fall 2008 by the Haiku Society of America while another was included in "Dandelion Wind," an anthology of poems commemorating the 2007 North America conference published in December. The conference was held in Winston-Salem with Heffernan serving as a panelist.
After attending a weeklong conference on painting and writing in Pennsylvania, two of his pieces, "Still Keeping the Cows In" and "Zen Bell Haiku Pastiche," were included in an exhibition at the Elizabeth Ross Gallery of Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte in November.
A 1975 graduate of St. Andrews, Morris serves as the director of music ministries at Parkway Presbyterian Church in Winston-Salem. In 1990, she discovered the joy of composing hymn tunes and since that time has written about 100, most of which appear in two collections.
She has hymn tunes in "Gather Comprehensive II," the New Century Hymnal of the United Church of Christ, The Hymnal 21 in Japan and the 2005 Hymnal of the Church of Scotland as well as other collections, hymnal supplements and recordings. Other publications include hymn and choral anthems by The Pilgrim Press and the forthcoming 2010 catalog of EC Schirmer Publishing.
Morris frequently appears as a guest artist, clinician, composer, cantor and conductor in churches nationwide. She has made appearances at national conferences, including The Presbyterian Association of Musicians Worship and Music Conferences at Montreat, The National Association of Pastoral Musicians and the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada.
Following the presentation of the awards, Heffernan and Holt will share some of their written works during the Fortner Writers' Forum beginning at 8 p.m. in Orange Main Lounge.
Anyone needing more information can call (910)277-5258.
The Sam Ragan Fine Arts Awards were initiated in 1981 to honor the late Sam Ragan, North Carolina's first secretary of cultural resources, and to celebrate the fact that North Carolina was the first of the United States to establish a cabinet-level position recognizing the fine arts. Ragan also served as the state's poet laureate and editor and publisher of The Pilot newspaper in Southern Pines.
Previous recipients have included Gov. Bob Scott, David Brinkley, Loonis McClohon, Kathryn Gurkin, Paul Jeffrey, Sally Nixon, Sally Buckner, and the Right Rev. Shelby Spong.
More like this story