SOMERSET, NJ - The Somerset County Cultural and Heritage Commission will honor local residents Terri Seggio and Michael Steinbruck, with its 2017 Excellence in the Arts Award, this Wednesday at Green Brook Middle School. 

"The awards ceremony provides an opportunity for the community to show its appreciation for the many talented artists, art advocates, and educators that are dedicated to promoting the arts in Somerset County,” said Somerset County Freeholder Brian D. Levine, the commission’s liaison. “This year’s award recipients have demonstrated outstanding talent, vision, and leadership.”

Artwork and performances by award recipients and their students will be featured throughout the evening, according to the county cultural ad heritage commission. 

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The ceremony starts at 7:30 p.m. and will be followed by a reception, those wishing to attend should register no later than April 17, by calling (908) 231-7021 or emailing CulturalHeritage@co.somerset.nj.us.

The Excellence in the Arts awards honors individuals and organizations that show exemplary leadership and dedication to the fine and performing arts in Somerset County.  

Seggio a sixth-grade literacy teacher at Sampson G. Smith Intermediate School (SGS) and director of the SGS Players' productions at the school, will be awarded an Arts in Education award. She recently acted as the Mistress of Ceremonies at Franklin's Finest and directed the well-received Peter Pan Jr. Seggio will also direct the 3rd annual Alumni Cabaret at SGS on June 3. 

Steinbruck chairman of the Cultural Arts Council will receive the Arts in the Community award. He is also currently collaborating with New Brunswick Cultural Center for the 5th annual Hub City Music Festival.

"I define myself as a community servant, activist, and organizer who is committed to the study and application of that art," Steinbruck said to TAPinto Franklin Township. "My focus is on demanding justice for the most vulnerable and disenfranchised among us and the arts are a very powerful tool to employ in the struggle to end social and economic injustice. I believe that the gateway to achieving these outcomes can be opened in part through efforts that serve to bring all people together through the arts."

The keynote speaker will be Nicholas Paleologos, executive director of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

Somerset County issued the following information in a release earlier this month:

This year’s recipients of the Arts in Education or Mentorship award include Brian Dursee, art teacher at Watchung Hills Regional High School; Ellen Parker, an arts educator who lives in Somerville; and Terri Seggio, director of plays at Sampson G. Smith Intermediate School in Franklin and active in the Villagers Theatre Summer Theatre Intensive Program.

Award recipients in the Arts in the Community category include: Elie Porter Turbert, executive director of the Center for Contemporary Art; Jaye Barre, director, producer, board president of Trilogy Repertory and resident of Basking Ridge; Linda Giordano, a Belle Mead resident who serves as chairperson of Villagers Theater’s fundraising initiatives; Michael Steinbruck, a Franklin resident who serves as chairman of the Cultural Arts Council; and Karen Kowaiski, who teaches at the Somerville School of Music. 

Recipients of the Aspiring Young Artist award include Gabriel Garcia of Bound Brook and Marie Pugliese of Montgomery.

The Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders, the Somerset County Cultural & Heritage Commission and Friends of Somerset County Culture & Heritage Inc. are sponsors of the awards program.  Award recipients were selected by an independent panel comprised of professionals in the arts, including Pat Morris, Janice Haggerty and Ann Osterdale Rosenblum.   

The Somerset County Cultural and Heritage Commission is committed to making programs and events accessible to all residents. 

For more information, contact Kaitlin Bundy, program coordinator at the Somerset County Cultural and Heritage Commission, at (908)231-7000, ext. 7246 orbundy@co.csomerset.nj.us.

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