SYLACAUGA -- For 20 years, Elaine Liveoak has been active in the Sylacauga Arts Council. On Thursday night, she was named the recipient of the organization’s Outstanding Service Award.
Summer Newman Ernest, Arts Council president, made the presentation during the organization’s dinner theater at the J. Craig Smith Community Center.
The Arts Council has been promoting art in the community for 45 years. Ernest said many volunteers help the organization provide programs like the dinner theater, art in local schools and so much more to the community.
Ernest said Liveoak has served in various capacities but most recently as the organization’s vice president of programs.
“She put her whole heart into this dinner theater from entertainment to decorations … everything was always perfect,” Ernest said. “She loves music and children and especially enjoyed the grants we offer to schools.”
Dr. Shirley Spears, retired director of the B.B. Comer Memorial Library, said, “During my years of working with her at Comer Library and on the Sylacauga Arts Council board, I observed her promotion of the arts with all ages.”
Spears said Liveoak brought programs to senior citizens, assisted living facilities, civic group meetings and Arc clients.
“In 2014, she was honored as ‘Woman of the Year’ by the members of the Grimes Chapel Church, where she has also invested a large part of her time and heart,” Spears said.
Dr. Ted Spears, former Arts Council president, said of Liveoak, “She has been a mainstay in the Sylacauga Arts Council for many years. She has shared her time and talent to promote the cultural arts.
“She helped scout out performers, schedule events, decorate, bring devotionals and generally just do what was needed to make the Arts Council a success. Perhaps her greatest achievement has been in working with children’s programming to help ensure a foundation for the future of arts.”
Liveoak was surprised to be presented the award. She told the story of how she got started with the Arts Council.
“One day, Dr. Shirley came to me and said she was going to take me with her to a meeting for the arts,” Liveoak said. “That was 20 years ago. She took me to my first Arts Council meeting, and I’m still involved. What a pleasure and inspiration it has been.”
The retired member of the Comer Library staff spoke about the blessings that can be found in Sylacauga. “We have that beautiful museum across the street, the library just down the road, this facility, and look at our hospital. We are so blessed,” she said.
Arts Council members Rachel Freeman and Teresa Offord handed out door prizes, which were made possible by several local businesses.
The Rev. Rick Patrick of First Baptist Church of Sylacauga gave the invocation. Dinner was prepared by Hickory Street Café.
Three on a String provided the entertainment, which left the audience of more than 300 in laughter and cheers.