On Thursday, March 5, 2015, the City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department, in cooperation with the Gainesville-Alachua County Cultural Affairs Board, the Nature Centers Commission, the Public Recreation and Parks Board and Gainesville-Alachua County Art in Public Places Trust, presented nine awards at the 2014 Citizen Awards Reception held at the Thomas Center. Among the awards presented were the Lennie Kesl Lifetime Arts Award and the Public Art Award.
UF School of Music Professor of Music Emeritus R. Gary Langford received the Lennie Kesl Lifetime Arts Award, which is presented to an individual who has made significant and sustained contributions to the arts over a number of years. John Duff, director of the School of Music, accepted the award on Langford’s behalf.
Langford says it is an honor to receive the award named for his friend. “Lennie was truly one of a kind and was a crown jewel in Gainesville’s cultural life. Like Lennie, Gainesville has given me over the last 40-plus years, many diverse opportunities to share my love of music and teaching with audiences and citizens of Gainesville and the surrounding communities."
“The cultural offerings in this town are amazing,” Langford added. “The diversity, frequency and availability of professional, student and community sponsored events rival much larger urban centers. To be a part of it, to raise my family in this environment and to work and perform with outstanding colleagues and students has been rewarding and satisfying beyond words.”
Also at the awards reception School of Art + Art History Director Richard Heipp was honored with the city’s inaugural Public Art Award, which recognizes individuals who have made significant and sustained contributions to the enhancement of the greater environment through public art.
At the City Commission meeting prior to the awards reception, Mayor Ed Braddy read a proclamation honoring the recipients of this year’s awards and proclaimed the day, "Richard Heipp Day" in Gainesville. Additionally, the city planted a tree in a city park in Heipp’s honor.
Amy Vigilante, director of UF’s University Galleries, presented the award to Heipp whom she nominated. Heipp’s many achievements include teaching painting at UF for 35 years and inaugurating the first course in public art offered for students.