A corporation’s gesture intended to nurture young artists and their minds got the recognition it deserves recently when the board of the Hearts of Tyler organization presented the 2010 recipient of the Brick Street Award.
This honor goes to persons or corporations who have exhibited a willingness to “go the extra mile” in the Rose City’s ongoing quest to rejuvenate its historic downtown. Communications giant AT&T won the prize by envisioning the future of arts in downtown through the unique perspective of a child’s eyes. Tyler Main Street Director Beverly Abell explained how AT&T earned this award.
“They’ve been a longtime supporter of the Heart of Tyler,” she said. “They gave the City of Tyler a $25,000 grant for arts programming for children. It was a tremendous thing to happen.”
The Heart of Tyler Main Street Program is a nonprofit organization that promotes economic, cultural and historically accurate revitalization of the downtown district. In this case the organization hopes that by exposing the Rose City’s youngest residents to Tyler’s rich heritage it will mold future leaders who, in years to come, will make the city an even better place to live, work and worship. Organizers report Heart of Tyler’s efforts have resulted in awards and reinvestments worth more than $100 million.
This AT&T grant will be used to fund an expansion of children’s art specifically for “at risk” youth who otherwise would not have access to the arts and their positive influence. Furthermore, as a special outreach, kid-friendly art classes will be made available to the youthful participants in the Summer Playground Program, which also provides needy children with nourishing meals.
“From puppetry to poetry, from dance to drama, these kids will not just see art; they will experience art,” Abell said.
AT&T Director Online of Externa
l Affairs Candice Gast was very surprised when she learned of the award during an evening reception at the Gallery Main Street at 110 West Irwin Street. Stunned Gast on behalf of AT&T accepted the Heart of Tyler Brick prestigious award and was grateful for AT&T being honored in this way.
Heart of Tyler’s outgoing President Ingrid Young praised the art-bedecked gallery as being a symbol of the continuing labor of love to restore downtown. She complimented Roger Mabry and Associates as well as redevelopment efforts focusing on the Smith County Sheriff Department’s offices, Spring Avenue Plaza, the Elks Lodge, Liberty Hall, Jake’s and Broadway Yamaha’s former location, which has been purchased by Mike Butler and the Butler Architectural Group.
“We have another architect coming to downtown,” she said. “We’ve been busy this year. We are good stewards of your membership dollars.”
Incoming Heart of Tyler President Chris Simons presented Young with a silver plaque that further expressed appreciation for her contributions.
“Ingrid has poured her heart and soul into this organization,” he said. “She has been an amazing presence, and we are all better because of her leadership.”
Board members Casey Brownlow of Brownlow and Sons, and Patrice Stine of Pillsbury GMAC/Venue Properties were both nominated for second terms.
Newly elected members included Russell Cooper of Brookshire’s Grocery Company, Scott Frazier of CUE Creative, Bill Newburn of Regions Bank and CPA Shane Rohrbach of Gollob, Morgan and Preddy.
According to its website, Heart of Tyler works in collaboration with the Texas Main Street Program, the Texas Historical Commission and the National Main Street Center of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
“The city is pleased and proud to be a part of all this,” said Tyler Mayor Barbara Bass. “It would not be possible if all of us are not working together. Thank you for what you do to make Tyler great.”