King City Dance Studio Director Honored for Influential Work – The King City Rustler

KING CITY — Jan Harkness, artistic director of the Monterey County Dance Theater in King City, was recently honored at the 17th annual Champions of the Arts Gala, hosted by the Monterey County Arts Council.

Harkness, who has been teaching dance for nearly 40 years, and four others from across the county were recognized this year for making an impact on the arts community.

The five winners received awards at the June 18 fundraising gala, where students from the South Monterey County Dance Studio performed for more than 350 guests at the Monterey Marriott.

South Monterey County Students of the Monterey County Dance Theater perform for more than 350 guests at the June 18 gala at the Monterey Marriott. (Richard Green Photography)

“In front of me right now are children and young adults who started their journey and their dance at the age of 3 and a half. They’re a little older now, and that says it all,” Harkness said of the local dancers in attendance as he received his award. “Thank you Monterey County Arts Council. Thank you for the community that supports art in all its wonderful forms. Thank you to the parents and philanthropists who allow it to continue. Thank you for realizing that art is for everyone, that we share it together, and thank you to all the young minds who choose and want to study dance, music, whatever they want, because art will enrich their lives and also for all of us.”

Harkness also paid tribute to his parents, Bob and Pauline Hall. Her mother founded the King City dance studio in 1958 and retired 26 years later under Harkness’s guidance.

“From their love came the love of dance and the realization that I was very special because of the family I was born into and the love that was shown to me, to help me lead my life,” she said.

Monterey County Dance Theater Artistic Director Jan Harkness receives her award from the Monterey County Arts Council at the 17th annual Champions of the Arts Gala on June 18. (Richard Green Photography)

The other 2022 winners were: Steven Whyte, internationally renowned sculptor in Carmel; Juan Sanchez, founder of Palenke Arts at Seaside; Kati D’Amore, North Monterey County visual artist and member of the Monterey Bay Plein Air Painters Association; and Javier Tamayo, executive director of the Alisal Center for Fine Arts in Salinas.

This year, the Monterey County Arts Council (Arts4MC) also celebrated its 40th anniversary by offering programs that build the capacity of emerging artists and nonprofit organizations, as well as empower local youth.

“We are thrilled to be able to celebrate in person this year, as we honor these five incredible individuals who have had a profound impact on the arts, and recognize our 40 years of fostering the arts in Monterey County,” said said Jacquie Atchison. , CEO of Arts4MC.

The winners of the 17th Annual Champions of the Arts Awards are: (left to right) Javier Tamayo, Juan Sanchez, Jan Harkness, Kati D’Amore and Steven Whyte. (Richard Green Photography)

All proceeds from the event support Arts4MC’s arts education programs, which now serve more than 30,000 underprivileged students, at-risk youth, people with disabilities, seniors and veterans in the county.

See the full 2022 Arts Champions Gala on Monterey County Arts Council Youtube.

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