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Annual luncheon serves up strong support for arts

The rain was falling and the weather outside was cold, wet and a little miserable. But inside the Lawton Country Club the atmosphere was bright, warm and inviting as Southwest Oklahomans gathered to celebrate the Lawton Arts for All Kickoff Luncheon.

Guest speaker Mary McClure, a veteran of the local arts community, emphasized the importance of the arts to a community, contributing that most elusive of statistics  quality of life.

"The arts civilize a community," McClure said. "They diminish our anger, our anguish and our angst."

"Everybody loves to be, and needs to be, entertained," McClure said. "It's a basic need almost as important as food or shelter." 

The luncheon began a month-long fundraising campaign that provides support to Arts for All's member groups  the Lawton Philharmonic Orchestra, Lawton Community Theatre, Wichita Wildlight Photographic Society, Southwest Oklahoma Opera Guild and Lawton-Fort Sill Art Council. 

The luncheon is an annual event hosted in cooperation with the Lawton Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce, Arts for All and the Lawton Arts & Humanities Council. Additionally, the luncheon serves as a venue to allow the Lawton Arts & Humanities Council to present its annual arts and cultural awards to individuals and businesses.

This year's winners were Janice and David Bear, Juanita Pahdopony, Derek Griner, David Fennema, Bobby Creeping Bear and Twyla McDonald, who accepted on behalf of EZ GO Stores.

The Bears were named Citizen of the Arts; Pahdopony, Citizen of the Humanities; Griner, Educator in the Arts; Fennema, Educator in the Humanities; and Creeping Bear, Artist of the Year. McDonald accepted the Business in the Arts award for EZ GO. 

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