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2013 Esprit de Corps and Millicent Heller Awardees Honored

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

On Wednesday, June 19, 2013, the Burchfield Penney Art Center recognized its 2013 Esprit de Corps and Millicent Heller Awards recipients. This year’s honorees included Michael Basinski, Jackie Culliton, M&T Bank, Stephen Vermette, The Vogt Family Foundation, Tamara L. McMillan, Nancy Barlow and Linda Shick. Board chairman Peter Fleischmann recognized the recipients who have done extraordinary things for the Center over the past year.

Esprit de Corps, which means the common spirit of devotion and enthusiasm among members of a group, honors people and organizations for commitment, leadership and support:

Artist: Michael Basinski
Michael Basinski is the curator of the Poetry/Rare Books Collection of the University Libraries, SUNY at Buffalo. Basinski has a long history with the Center co-curating exhibitions and loaning work. Whether for curatorial assistance or help with research, when called upon he asks “What can I do for You?” You ask and he says “Sure, Sure.”

Board Member: Jackie Culliton
Jackie Culliton, senior vice president, First Niagara Bank, joined the board of trustees family in 2007 and participated in the marketing and new museum committees. She rose through various board seats, tapped in 2010 to lead as board hair. During Jackie’s tenure she governed the museum between directors and led the effort that resulted in our current leader, Tony Bannon. In addition, Jackie readily helped raise funds for the museum and garnered the support of First Niagara, as well as her personal philanthropy.

Company: M&T Bank
The Center is extremely grateful for the generous support and leadership from M & T Bank from its early days in Rockwell Hall, new building capital campaign and supporting new acquisitions. Its amazing people also give so much of their time and talent. Leadership in the arts shown by M & T CEO Mr. Robert Wilmers, as well as Shelley Drake, a member of our board of trustees and Nancy Brock, wife of board member Scott Goldman who ocontinue to help advance our mission. M&T’s vision also launched M&T Second Fridays and the Burchfield Penney’s artful presence is downtown as well, with works curated from the collection and on view in exhibitions at One Fountain Plaza.

Individual: Stephen Vermette
Stephen Vermette, Ph.D., is a climatologist and professor of geography and planning at Buffalo State. He first worked with the Center during Heat Waves in a Swamp: The Paintings of Charles Burchfield in 2010 giving a presentation on Burchfield’s fascination with weather. In 2011 Vermette co-curated Charles E. Burchfield: Weather Event with curator and manager of archives, Tullis Johnson. His enthusiasm and scientific perspective on weather has enriched and broadened audiences. The exhibition Weather Event will travel to the New York State Museum in Albany with an opening in November of 2013.

Foundation: The Vogt Family Foundation
The Vogt Family Foundation and the Vogt Family are a long-time vital and critical part of the Burchfield Penney. Peter Vogt was an early board member and one of the leading donors of art to the Center. He has been a trusted advisor and counsel to our founding director Edna Lindemann, as well as Tony Bannon, and Ted Pietrzak. The Vogt Family Foundation continues this legacy of support with ongoing contributions, all-important endowment funds, exhibitions and programs, acquisitions, and major projects. The Vogt Family Foundation was key in the acquisitions of the Charles Burchfield archives and numerous works of art.

Special Recognition: Tamara L. McMillan
Tamara McMillan, chief empowerment officer of McMillan Empowerment Enterprise, is a keynote, inspirational and platform speaker. In addition, Tamara is the associate director for leadership at SUNY Buffalo State. Over the past year, she has partnered with the Burchfield Penney to co-present dynamic programming to support our exhibitions and community-at-large. From the politics of black hair, growing up in Jacqueline Tarry’s neighborhood and how the village has changed during the McCallum Tarry exhibition, to a panel discussion on mass incarceration, we thank Tamara for helping to create dialogue to help this region be all it can be.

The Millicent Heller Award was created 25 years ago to honor the memory of Millicent Heller, a Burchfield Penney volunteer. Two dedicated volunteers were honored for their commitment to the Burchfield Penney in her memory:

Nancy Barlow
Nancy is a Landmark Docent at the Center. She is a former special education teacher at Lancaster Senior High School. Through this experience, she developed a unique perspective that enables her to provide meaningful tours to people with special needs. Nancy has also been critical to the Alzheimer’s and Buffalo Psychiatric Center programs, as well as the Ekphrastic Writing Partnership. A longtime resident of Gardenville, Nancy has connected the Center to dozens of Gardenville residents who share a personal relationship with the Burchfield family. She has also delivered multiple full-house presentations at the Burchfield Nature and Art Center and created a priceless collection of this oral history.

Linda Shick
Linda Shick joined the Center’s Volunteer Family in 2009. Linda is an administrative volunteer and works primarily tirelessly compiling the statistics vital to the museum history. She searches for information and refines records to provide accurate accounting of the role volunteers play. Linda’s attention to detail and superb organizational skills make her a valued member of the Burchfield team. She’s always willing to lend a hand and her friendly demeanor always brightens the atmosphere.