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OUR VIEW: Gala to showcase and celebrate local artistic talent

THE ISSUE: OmniArts to honor 8 at April 29 gala

OUR VIEW: Groups efforts establishing region as a creative destination

Senica's Oak Ridge ballroom will be packed with artistic talent Sunday afternoon. And that's just a sliver of what Starved Rock Country has to offer.

The third annual Omni Honors Awards Gala is "A celebration of the finest in music, dance, theatre, and visual arts in Starved Rock Country."

Eight honorees are the focus of the event, hosted by OmniArts of Starved Rock Country. The 2018 Omni Honors Award recipients are:

Lifetime Achievement Award of Excellence: BJ Muus, educator, musician, former Ottawa High School choral director, formerly of Ottawa.

Visual Arts Award of Excellence: Dori Thompson, painter, therapist, educator, Mendota.

Drama Award of Excellence: Sue Williamson, educator, director, Ottawa; Dave Roden, actor, director, educator, Princeton.

Music Award of Excellence: Sue Gillio, musician, educator, Peru.

OmniArtist Award of Excellence (multi-talented artist): Bill Myers, educator, storyteller, actor, Ottawa.

Dance Award of Excellence: Vicky Benac, teacher, choreographer, La Salle.

Golden Arts (Posthumous) Award of Excellence: Ray MaKeever, educator, musician, former band director Ottawa High School.

Doors open at 1 p.m. and the ceremony begins at 2. Tickets are $25 each and can be purchased at Tickets also will be available at the door. Seating is limited and online purchases are highly recommended.

Each honoree has at least 15 years of continuous artistic professionalism in local communities. Award recipients also must show outstanding character, service, reputation and dedication to growing the arts in Starved Rock Country. Recipients were selected from public nominations, as well as from trustees and The Advisory Committee of OmniArts.

Congratulations to all the honorees, whose dedication to the arts has bettered their communities.

Spotlighting such talent goes a long way in promoting the arts. And with their three-day inaugural Omni Prize for the Arts, a juried art festival planned for Friday, Sept. 7, through Sunday, Sept. 9, the organization is aiming to be the top dog of Midwest art festivals. OmniArts' continued efforts continue to put Starved Rock Country on the map.

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