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New Rochelle's Castle Gallery Earns Community Award

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — Approximately 300 Westchester residents gathered at the Crowne Plaza in White Plains Wednesday to honor the contributions of the county's artists and arts organizations.

Artists, patrons and supporters attending the ArtsWestchester's Arts Awards 2012 luncheon were thanked by ArtsWestchester CEO Janet Langsam for contribution to an industry that annually brings $140 million and thousands of jobs into Westchester. Among the award winners was Castle Gallery at the College of New Rochelle.

“It’s wonderful that you’re all here. I always look forward to this event because it’s such a wonderful networking, collegiate event for the arts,” Langsam said of the 36th annual ceremony.

Dennis Bell , a White Plains jazz pianist, composer and producer, received the artist award.

“I’m not used to getting awards like this. I’m very, very proud,” he said. “I came to Westchester just 10 years ago and found such a vibrant arts community. So I’d like to thank ArtsWestchester again for making that possible in our county.”

The Mercy College adjunct music and music technology professor recalled how his parents instilled music in him by saying, “You sit down and play the piano, or you get out.”

“I was 8 years old at the time, so that didn’t work out,” said Bell, who called on the audience to get youth involved in the arts. “I encourage you all to get out and reach the young people to develop their artistic talents and develop new audiences.”

Croton illustrator Jerry Pinkney was also given the artist award. The Westchester Community Foundation won the arts patron award. The Taconic Opera earned the arts organization award. The Sophia Abeles Education Award celebrated the work of the Steffi Nossen School of Dance. Finally, the community award was presented to the Yonkers Philharmonic, Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital and the Castle Gallery at the College of New Rochelle.

Gallery director Katrina Rhein thanked many for helping transform a 19th century gothic revival castle into a revolving arts venue for College of New Rochelle (CNR) students and local artists.

“I hope that everyone who has collaborated with us or visited us over the years feels somewhat responsible for this award. It’s a community award. CNR as a whole and the surrounding community is what makes the shows and programs so successful,” said Rhein.

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