42nd Annual Arts Celebration Awards and Honors

ROCK HILL, SC – The Arts Council of York County held its 42nd Annual Arts Celebration on Thursday, June 27, 2019, at the Center for the Arts, 121 E. Main St., Rock Hill, during which, some of our most dedicated members and supporters were recognized. Guests enjoyed scenes from The Little Mermaid Junior, performed by Showtime Theatre Company cast members Kellie Payne as Ursula and Anna Cibbarelli as Ariel.

Three exhibits were on display in the galleries at the Center for the Arts during the Annual Celebration: 30th Annual Juried Exhibition in the Dalton Gallery; Pouring My Heart Out, works by Angie Brumer in the Perimeter Gallery; and photographs by students of Compass Prep in the Edmund D. Lewandowski Classroom Gallery.

President Melanie Jones welcomed new Board members: Hali Christopher, Dr. John Jones, Jr., and Lori H. Patrick. The officers for FY 2019 - 2020 were installed, including President Melanie Jones, Vice President Priscilla Nealy, Immediate Past President Nicki Nash, Secretary Michael B. Smith, and Treasurer Erica Smith. Outgoing Board members Jennifer Childers, Ruth H. Todd, and Jennifer Wilford were recognized for their service to the Arts Council.


Dr. William Benjamin Ardrey, a well-known Rock Hill pediatrician for more than 30 years, was an extraordinary volunteer and active in community groups, including the Arts Council. This award, named in his honor, is given to those individuals who display enthusiasm for, and dedicated volunteer commitment to promote the arts in York County. The 2019 recipients of the Ben Ardrey Volunteer of the Year’s commitment to the arts knows no bounds.

Dr. Bradley Sabelli was the catalyst for many Catawba River Art Guild activities as president from 2014 – 2018. He secured guest artist presentations, involved the group in activities like Come Draw With Me, Earth Day, Harry Potter Science, and Piedmont Exhibition Events at the Museum of York County, and advocated for the exhibition of local artwork in local venues such as banks, restaurants, and galleries. Brad continues to work with local organizations to bring the arts to all local and regional communities, and never misses a chance to promote the arts and to encourage artists. He pitches in, and often leads. When there is a need or opportunity involving arts in our community. He is a mentor, educator, and organizer of the arts. He serves on the Fewell Park Advisory Board where he teaches classes throughout the year with a focus on offering high-quality, affordable classes. Sabelli is not only a member of the Arts Council, but he also serves as a workshop leader and event photographer as well. He can also be found teaching art classes at Gallery 120 in Clover, SC.

An artist in his own right, Dr. Sabelli has exhibited in galleries in Washington, D. C., Pennsylvania, Florida, Michigan, Virginia, and South Carolina, and his artwork is held in private collections across the country. He contributes to local non-profit fundraising auction events, participates in the Rock Hill School District 3’s Art and Art Education program, serves as an adjudicator for the Fort Mill Public Art Show and for the York County High Schools Art Show. Sabelli’s theatrical designs have appeared on the stage across the US.


The longstanding support that Gala Affairs offers to the arts and culture community in York County is immeasurable. Gala Affairs is involved in nearly every aspect of the community from leadership positions to underwriting events hosted by nonprofit organizations. President and owner, Toy Rhea has served the arts community by working with the Arts Council of York County, the Women’s Art Initiative, ChristmasVille, Come-See-Me Festival, and The White Home – to mention just a few.

Understanding the tight budgets that local nonprofits work with, Gala Affairs often donates, or offers at a reduced cost, the rentals of equipment needed for receptions, celebrations and special events produced by the nonprofit organizations in the county. As president of ChristmasVille, Rhea comped so many event fees that Rock Hill’s ChristmasVille was able to focus their attention on growing this popular four-day festival, earning the Southeast Festival & Events Association’s Kaleidoscope Awards Best Festival for the 2017 event.

As a business that volunteers within the community, leads, donates products and services, enjoys a large visual arts collection and is heavily involved in marketing and advertising local events, campaigns, and special programs, Gala Affairs is most deserving of the Business & the Arts Award.

The Arts Council is headquartered in downtown Rock Hill, a state-recognized cultural district. For more information on Arts Council events, contact the Arts Council of York County at 803-328-2787, by email at arts@yorkcountyarts.org, or visit our webpage at http://www.yorkcountyarts.org.