Pampa philanthropist Lilith Brainard won top honors Thursday at the annual Golden Nail Awards.
Brainard, a member of a longtime area ranching dynasty, was announced the winner of the Summit Award at the close of the 32nd annual awards gala. Her daughter, Sena Brainard, accepted the award on her behalf.
“Tonight I feel like not only have you honored my mother, you have honored my father and my grandparents because she has continued their legacy in the Panhandle,” Sena Brainard said. “Thank you so much.”
The gala, sponsored by the Amarillo Convention and Visitor Council’s arts committee, recognizes financial, in-kind and volunteer contributions to the fine arts in Amarillo and the surrounding area.
“We all recognize the impact arts have on the community,” said Roy Bara, owner of La Fiesta Restaurants and chairman of the Amarillo Chamber of Commerce board of directors.
“The arts provide a quality of life that represents the fabric of our community.”
Fifteen awards were given, culled from more than 475 nominations from across the Texas Panhandle.
Distinguished Volunteer award winner Kim McKinney of Canadian spoke of how early exposure to the San Antonio Symphony while growing up in Harlingen still influences her devotion to the arts.
“I would like to be able to say this is unselfish,” McKinney said. “But I know myself now. I need (the arts) in my life.
“In my mind, art — in all of its forms — is joy. Spread the joy.”
An anonymous jury of area residents, not the committee itself, selects the winners after reviewing nomination forms, said Becky Zenor, vice president of the Amarillo Chamber of Commerce’s Quality of Life Council.
Lilith Brainard was nominated by several area arts entities for her support, including Texas
Panhandle Heritage Foundation, Amarillo Little Theatre, Amarillo Opera, Lone Star Ballet and Amarillo Symphony.
“Her pioneering spirit over the years and her unwavering support makes a better life for every citizen of the Panhandle,” said Nancy Josserand, who presented with husband Robert. The couple won last year’s Summit Award.
Individual awards were given to John and Jennifer Miesse and Terry and Kathy Sheldon. The Miesses have supported Chamber Music Amarillo and others, while the Sheldons have contributed to the Symphony. Kathy Sheldon is a member of the arts committee.
“One thing I want to say is that it is incredible to look at all of the different groups here at this event and (know) how much the arts mean to every community and what you do,” Kathy Sheldon said. “It’s really an honor for us to be able to do whatever we can to make that happen.”
Business awards were awarded to Danny and Susan Jackson, owners of CEM Services, and Terry and Kay Brown, owner of Canadian Oil & Gas.
The Jacksons donate labor costs and service calls for heating and air-conditioning units and plumbing at the theater’s three facilities. The Browns support a broad range of arts events in Canadian.
“We get fast and dependable service, just as if we were their highest-
paying customer,” Allen Shankles, ALT’s artistic and managing director, said of CEM Services in prepared remarks by presenter Carrie Huckabay. “Generous support of the arts is not always about money. Support can be given in other tangible ways. This support has a very positive impact on the ALT bottom line.”
Foundation awards were given to Xcel Energy in recognition of its support of several arts groups, and the Weatherly Charitable Lead Trust, which provided assistance for the Carson County Square House Museum in Panhandle that allowed renovations and more.
Distinguished Volunteer awards were presented to longtime Opera volunteers Lee and Kathy Kendle and Canadian Arts Alliance founding member Kim McKinney.
“Well, we just kept showing up, and they never locked the door,” Lee Kendle said.
The Up-and-Coming Distinguished Volunteer awards, presented to those 35 years old or younger, were given to Amarillo Museum of Art trustee Farrar Mansfield and Square House Museum volunteer Chealana Thiem and family of Panhandle.
Special awards were given to Merrill Cheney of Santa Fe, N.M., who made a significant contribution to AMoA, and Ann Crouch, artist and owner of The Galleries at Sunset Center.
Golden Touch awards, presented for innovative arts activities, were given to the Citadelle Art Foundation in Canadian for its “Where Children Sleep” exhibition and the Airport Art Program, an initiative by the arts committee and the city of Amarillo to provide space to hang works by area artists at Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport.