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Two Daytonians Receive Ohio Governor's Awards For The Arts

Steven Bognar

Two long-time contributors to the arts in Dayton will be the recipients of the 2014 Ohio Governor's Awards for the Arts. Dayton Philharmonic Music Director, Neil Gittleman, and Sheri Williams with the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company were selected with 4 other winners from around the state for the prestigious award.

In a released statement, Gittleman, who has been with the Dayton Philharmonic since the mid-eighties, said he was “honored” and “humbled” by the award. The conductor added that, "although the award puts the spotlight on him, it really honors the Dayton Philharmonic’s, and now the DPAA’s, focus on community engagement and service over many years.” 

Sheri “Sparkle” Williams received the individual artist award for her 40 years of work with the DCDC.

“At the beginning, I think I never, ever thought I’d be dancing at all this long, but it’s such a big part of me," says Williams. "The environment is just so nurturing, challenging, and inspiring.  It’s afforded me the opportunity to create lasting and encouraging relationships with people all over the world.”

Six winners this year were selected from 76 nominations submitted by individuals and organizations throughout Ohio. Among Dayton’s many past recipients of the Governor’s Award are Michael Bashaw, the Charles F. Kettering family, Cityfolk and the Dayton Art Institute.


Jerry Kenney was introduced to WYSO by a friend and within a year of first tuning in became an avid listener and supporter. He began volunteering at the station in 1991 and began hosting Alpha Rhythms in February of 1992. Jerry joined the WYSO staff in 2007 as a host of All Things Considered and soon transitioned into hosting Morning Edition. In addition to now hosting All Things Considered, Jerry is the host and producer of WYSO Weekend, WYSO's weekly news and arts magazine. He has also produced several radio dramas for WYSO in collaboration with local theater companies. Jerry has won several Ohio AP awards as well as an award from PRINDI for his work with the WYSO news department. Jerry says that the best part of his job is being able to talk to people in the community and share their experiences with WYSO listeners.