It’s not often that the leading figures in the Santa Cruz County creative community can be found all in one place. But every year, during the last week of January, everybody — or at least seems that way to me — comes out for the Gail Rich Awards.
We’ve been doing this for 15 years, honoring the artists and arts supporters in this community by highlighting a handful of names in what is an endless roll call of artists, musicians, actors, writers, singers, poets, businesspeople, philanthropists and volunteers. I’ve been the host for each of those years and I have to say I always feel elated for days afterward.
Artists and performers at the highest level get way too much money and fame for what they contribute to the world. But those at the local level rarely get much of any. I’ve always been amazed at talented people who continue to pursue a specific artistic vision when, many times, they’re rarely compensated for it (at least at a level to make a decent living) and they’re rarely even noticed for it.
For the most part, the folks we’ve chosen for the Gailies over the years have reasons to engage in their arts other than becoming rich and famous. And in many obvious ways, and millions of less obvious ways, they make the lives of their neighbors richer in the process.
I hope you’ll come out to the Rio Theatre on Wednesday to pay tribute to this year’s honorees — artist Rose Sellery, performer Rick McKee, writer/artist T. Mike Walker, singer/songwriter Bryn Loosley, singer/actor Lori Rivera (pictured above) and photographer Bob Barbour.
And it won’t cost you a thing. It’s free. For more information on this year’s Gailies, go here. And for terrific slide show of past winners, featuring the amazing photography of our own Shmuel Thaler, go here.