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The Richardson Arts Alliance announced the recipients of the annual "Heart for the Arts" awards at its Garden Party on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017. Award recipients Betty and Paul Peck, Sarah Riehm and Jenny Kelly will be honored at the annual Heart for the Arts Gala on Saturday, February 17, 2018.

“I am so thrilled that we have wonderful recipients representing the arts community here in Richardson.  They exemplify what it means to ‘give tirelessly,’ and each one has promoted, supported and advocated for the cultural arts in Richardson,” said David Nethery, President of the Richardson Arts Alliance.

Betty and Paul Peck will be recognized as the “Patron for the Arts,” which is given to outstanding community leaders who have devoted time and resources to further the arts in the greater Richardson area. “Betty served on the Cultural Arts Commission for eight years and has supported and participated in numerous arts and cultural organizations and efforts.  Paul has been a strong advocate for the inclusion of arts in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) initiatives, turning STEM into STEAM,” said David.

Sarah Riehm, an active working playwright, will be recognized with the “Artist of the Year Award” for her dedication and excellence in the performing arts.  “In addition to being a playwright, Sarah also founded and served as Executive Director of the Playwrights Project and Executive Director of the Texas Composers Forum.  Sarah also served on the Richardson Arts Commission and supports local musical artists by providing performing opportunities at her Wildflower Patio and Grill,” said David.

Jenny Kelly will receive the "Ambassador for the Arts Award” for lifetime commitment to the arts.   Jenny has served as an elementary music teacher and administrator for 37 years, the last 24 years with Richardson ISD.  She is well known for her commitment to creating opportunities for young students in Richardson ISD to experience the arts first-hand through field trips and other interactive experiences,” said David.

The award recipients will be honored at the annual Heart for the Arts Gala on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, at the Charles W. Eisemann Center.  The mission of the Richardson Arts Alliance is to promote and develop the cultural arts in the City of Richardson through communication, collaboration and education by individual members and organizations interested in the arts.