The Richland Art Commission STAR (Supporting The Arts Recognition) Award Winners were announced at Tuesday night's Richland City Council Meeting.

This year, the commission received eight nominations that recognized all forms of artistic contribution, including visual, music, dance and performing arts.

For her efforts in bringing small businesses to life during the COVID-19 shutdown, local photographer and long time Columbia Basin art scene connoisseur Courtney Jette, received the individual award.

Using her talents behind the lens, Courtney highlighted many of the small businesses that were impacted, bringing shuttered business owners to a personal level. These efforts created an awareness that seemed to begin the healing process. These beautiful photographs can be seen here.

The Mid-Columbia Ballet, a longtime contributor to the performance arts, was selected for the group award. This non-profit organization found a unique way to share during the Covid-19 pandemic by re-imaging their annual Nutcracker performance. Because they were unable to perform a live show, they created "Clara’s Nutcracker Dream", a video version of the performance that has received over 13,000 views on YouTube.

Get our free mobile app

The remaining nominations for the 2020 STAR Award included John Clement, nationally award-winning Tri-Cities photographer; McKenzie Kennedy, a Miss Tri-Citian Pageant winner and long-time volunteer of the Richland Players Theatre; Janet Krupin, a member of Mid-Columbia Ballet and director of Clara’s Dream; and Cameron Milton a talented artist who has created many of the murals at the Uptown Shopping Center, and throughout the Tri-Cities.

Lastly, the remaining organizational nomination went to The Richland Player’s Theater, which celebrated its 75th Anniversary during the Covid-19 pandemic. Even though the theater was closed, the organization created numerous pop-up theater productions at senior center parking lots and YouTube and audio productions of several plays. This creativity kept the arts alive and thriving throughout our community.

Thank you to all of the tireless volunteers who pour their hearts into making sure the arts and entertainment stay alive and well, however that plays out, whatever the discipline, in the Columbia Basin.

LOOK: A history of Black representation in movies

LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.