Allen receives Arts Council’s top honor 

 Allen receives Arts Council’s top honor 
October 03
00:00 2014
(pictured above:  Simona Atkins Allen with Arts Council Board Chair Steve Berlin and Arts Council CEO Jim Sparrow (right).)

Simona Atkins Allen was presented with the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County’s coveted Arts Council Award for a lifetime of volunteerism in the arts. Allen accepted the award during the Arts Council’s 65th Annual Meeting on Sept. 22. She was nominated for the award by the board of Delta Fine Arts.

Allen was one of the moving forces behind the creation and development of Delta Fine Arts and has been an inspirational leader on many projects.

A granddaughter of Winston-Salem State University founder Dr. Simon Green Atkins, Allen has continued her family’s rich legacy of service.

Beginning in 1970, Allen chaired the Projects Committee of the Winston-Salem Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, which guided the incorporation of Delta Fine Arts, which was the Southeast’s first gallery and arts organization founded by black women.

A former Delta Arts Board member, Allen has donated countless volunteer hours to Delta Arts as a consultant and as a member of numerous committees. Over the past 40 years, her contributions have helped bring the work of internationally-known African American artists to the city, including permanent murals by Dr. John Biggers at Winston-Salem State.

She also played a role in the North Carolina Museum of History’s presentation of “Behind the Veneer: Thomas Day, Master Cabinetmaker,” a two -year exhibition featuring 53 pieces of Day’s furniture.  She presented the request for help to the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources for the purchase of the furniture and was instrumental in fundraising.

In 2001, she chaired a capital campaign and worked to identify and acquire the property for the current location of the Delta Arts Center at 2611 New Walkertown Road.

Due to her fundraising efforts and extensive knowledge of African-American art and artists, in 2009 Delta Fine Arts presented the landmark “Reflections: The Afro-American Artist,” which featured 100 works of art by 80 African-American artists and was accompanied by performances, lectures, and dialogues with artists.  The exhibition was held at the Benton Convention Center and was seen by more than 10,500 people, including 7,000 students from local schools.



The Arts Council’s R. Philip Hanes Young Leader Award went to Philip Pledger, founder of the annual music festival Phuzz Phest. The Arts Development Award for a collaborative innovative project went to Peppercorn Children’s Theatre and Reynolda House Museum of American Art for their eight performances of “Five Row: Growing Up with Reynolda.”

Four retiring trustees –  Bill Benton, Cheryl Lindsay, Wanda Merschel and Silvia Rodriguez – were recognized as well.

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