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Thursday, November 7, 2013

New Patroon Award to be presented at 11/13 Luncheon

The Albany Roundtable has selected Grand Street Community Arts to receive its prestigious New Patroon Award for the organization’s efforts to cultivate unity through the arts in a racially and economically diverse neighborhood in Albany. The award will be presented at the Albany Roundtable luncheon on Wednesday, November 13th. Edwards Grimes-CarriĆ³n, executive director of Grand Street Community Arts, will accept the award.

Since 2003, residents of the Mansion neighborhood have been using the arts to bridge cultural and economic divides. Through a variety of programs – including YO! Youth Organics; YouthFX: Youth Film eXperience; YouthARTS; and the Vacant Lot Project – Grand Street Community Arts has set out to engage the creativity and imagination of local youth in areas that they otherwise might not experience in schools or at home.

The group is in the midst of a crowdsourcing effort to raise money for repairs to their headquarters, the former St. Anthony’s Church on Madison Avenue at Grand Street. Built in 1907, the building needs a new heating system as well as repairs to the roof, floors and walls, and plumbing to meet city codes and continue to fulfill its mission. For more information or to make a donation, visit .

“Grand Street Community Arts has created a supportive community that focuses on its youth,” said Chris Hawver, President of the Albany Roundtable. “The center presents a broad spectrum of arts programs and performances that encourage art as a natural tool of expression available to everyone. By restoring historic St. Anthony’s church as its home, the arts center creates and nurtures a link with the living history of the community. In doing so, Grand Street Community Arts is fostering a more vibrant and sustainable city. We are delighted to honor them with the New Patroon award.”

The featured speaker for the November 13 luncheon is Tammis Groft, Executive Director of the Albany Institute of History & Art. She will discuss the Institute’s latest exhibit, GE Presents: The Mystery of the Albany Mummies. The Albany Institute of History & Art is one of the oldest museums in the United States (founded 1791) and is a major repository for the region’s history and cultural heritage.  Ms. Groft was appointed executive director of the Institute in 2013. She began as an intern in 1976 and was hired as Assistant Curator of Collections and Exhibitions in 1978.

The Albany Roundtable established its Good Patroon Award 1988 to celebrate outstanding contributions to the community by institutions and individuals. While the Good Patroon Award has traditionally honored organizations and individuals with a long record of service to the community, the Roundtable launched its New Patroon Award in 2011 to highlight and encourage the work of newer organizations.

The most recent Good Patroon Award winners include Ruth Pelham and the Music Mobile; Amy Klein and Capital District Community Gardens; Maude Baum, Artistic Director of eba Dance Theatre; housing and social justice advocates Roger and Maria Markovics; and Christine M. Miles, Director of the Albany Institute of History and Art. Catherine Hedgeman and The Stakeholders, Inc., received the first New Patroon Award in 2011, followed by Jeff Mirel and The Albany Barn in 2012.

The November 13 Roundtable Luncheon begins at 12:00 noon and will be held at the National Register-listed University Club of Albany at 141 Washington Avenue. The luncheon is open to the public and the cost is $20, which may be paid at the door. The Roundtable also offers the option of paying in advance with a credit card at The University Club will serve lunch from 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m., with the program commencing at 12:30. Reservations are required by Tuesday, November 12 and may be made by prepaying online, by calling 518-431-1400 (the Albany Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce) or by sending an e-mail to

“When he died in 1839, Stephen Van Rensselaer III was remembered as ‘The Good Patroon’ for his benevolent attitude toward the residents of Rensselaerswyck,” said Hawver. “The Good Patroon and New Patroon Awards are the Albany Roundtable’s means of honoring those leaders who make our community a better place to live. We are so pleased to be able to present Grand Street Community Arts with this award.”