2018 Award Honorees
Jinsil Hwaryoung Seo
M.L. "Sonny" Moss Artist of the Year
Established in honor of the late Sonny Moss, Calvert Potter and early Brazos Valley arts ambassador, this award honors particularly innovative Brazos Valley artists that have made lasting and impactful contributions to our community through their creative efforts.
Dr. Jinsil Hwaryoung Seo is an interactive artist/researcher focusing on aesthetics of
interactive experience. She is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Visualization at the College of Architecture and a faculty fellow in the Institute for Applied Creativity and the Center for Health Systems & Design at Texas A&M University.
Seo received a Ph.D. in Interactive Art and Technology from Simon Fraser University in Canada and an MFA in Computer Arts from School of Visual Arts (SVA). With interdisciplinary, interactive art practice, Seo investigates the intersection between body, nature and technology. Seo has been fascinated by the aesthetic qualities of human experience, the relationships that emerge through interactions within artworks, the underlying beauty and pattern inherent in nature. Her current research concentrates on designing for tangible and kinetic aesthetics in the contexts of education and health. Seo has chosen interactive art for her creative practice and research in particular as it encourages immersive and embodied relationships within a work of art and with participants.
As an educator, she is very interested in introducing new materials and approaches to young children. Seo has been conducting interactive art workshops at the Art Council of Brazos Valley and Texas A&M University since 2012.
D.A. "Andy" Anderson Award
This very special award is given to a select few individuals who have proven again and again, over many years, exemplary support of the arts, culture, and heritage of the Brazos Valley. This is The Arts Council’s lifetime achievement award.
Ben Hardeman is the perfect example of the saying, “I wasn’t born in Texas but I got here as soon as I could.” He was only 1-year-old when his parents arrived in Bryan and his father took a teaching position at Texas A&M College.
Ben started his company, then-called OrnaMetal Castings, in the backyard of his parent’s home while still a junior in Industrial Distribution at Texas A&M. In 1982, Ben was invited to Washington, DC where he was awarded the “Small Business Person of the Year Award” for the five-state Region 6 of the Small Business Administration. By the time OMC was sold in 1999, the company was selling plaques, cast letters and signage around the world.
Instead of early retirement, Ben purchased a Model T parts business called Texas T Parts and went to work again. At its sale, thirteen years later, his business was not only selling Model T parts but was manufacturing accessory parts that are sold to Model T enthusiasts around the world.
An active participant in the Chamber of Commerce in the late 70’s and early 80’s, Ben put together the initial plans for the highly successful Leadership Brazos program. In 2013, the Chamber of Commerce named Ben as “Citizen of the Year” for his many years of service to Bryan/College Station.
Ben has served three separate times on the Bryan City Council, between 1984-1991, 2003-2009, and 2015-2018. He was instrumental in passing the original no-smoking ordinance, implementing zoning to protect our neighborhoods, and expanding the Fire Department to include trained emergency personnel on Bryan ambulances. He has been an active supporter of Downtown Bryan redevelopment since a previous Council invested in the LaSalle Hotel and vigorously endorsed the Traditions project which has jumpstarted growth on the west side of town. In spite of loud and angry opposition from those who believed that nothing would ever come of either, Ben and others had the vision to see the opportunities they would foster and the great success they would become.
Ben was on Council during negotiations that ultimately brought the Texas A&M Health Science Center and the Bio-Corridor to Bryan. As a member of Council and, later, on the Bryan Business Council, Ben was involved in the decision to develop the Triangle Park in the north side of Bryan and in creating an innovative partnership with Brazos County.
In 2010, when the Queen Theatre came up for sale, Ben immediately started organizing efforts as Chairman of the Downtown Bryan Association (DBA) to purchase the dilapidated but architecturally and historically significant building. His insistence on it being a community-wide effort led to hundreds of local citizens contributing funds to “Save the Queen.” This enabled the Downtown Bryan Association to make the down payment on the building in just six weeks. Eighteen months later, the DBA held a public celebration during the Annual Texas Reds Festival and turned the lights back on, for the first time in more than 30 years. Ben has served as Chair of the Queen Committee since the restoration began in 2010.
After an additional two years of discussions on how to best use the tall but narrow inner space, interior construction finally began. During the past four years of sometimes frustratingly slow construction, many private individuals and local companies donated materials and labor for this iconic symbol of Bryan. Surprisingly, the 1939 Art Deco movie theatre has been reborn as an Art Deco movie theatre, not a true restoration but a beautiful renovation. After eight years, the Queen of Bryan opened its doors on First Friday, May 4th and Ben Hardeman welcomed movie goers to Downtown Bryan once again.
Jane Wolfe Distinguished Arts Leadership Award
Named for founding member of the Arts Council, Jane Wolfe in 2007, this award honors individuals whose work in the arts, culture, and heritage of Brazos Valley provides leadership beyond their organization and across disciplines while building partnerships with business, government, and community leaders.
Denise Bermudez was born in Houston, Texas. At the age of 15, she moved to College Station where she later graduated from A&M Consolidated High School. She then attended Texas A&M University where she met her husband. While attending school, she also managed local apartment complexes. Denise continued in the apartment management field in Houston after she and her husband left College Station in 1974 until they relocated to the New York region in 1975. They later moved to Caracas, Buenos Aires, and Connecticut, which they called home until 2004, before returning to College Station. During that time, Denise’s husband worked as a banker while she focused her time on being a dedicated mother to her four children Jorge, Andres, Elena, and Antonio.
Denise has always had a strong passion and a big heart for children and education. Over the years, she served in various capacities as secretary, treasurer, and ultimately, president of a few Parent/Teacher Organizations from nursery schools through high schools in Connecticut, Venezuela, and Argentina. Denise enjoyed four years as race director for the Weston 5k Road Race, taught religious education classes, and helped lead many other youth and school activities. Blessed with overabundance, she has always felt that it was her responsibility to help others who are less fortunate. In 2007 Denise and her family began their partnership with Bryan/College Station Habitat for Humanity with a strong desire to help others have a home. She later became a Habitat board sponsor in 2009 and continues to be an active member. In April of 2014, Denise was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. During her battle, she remained an unwavering advocate by refusing to wear a wig in order to strike up conversation about cancer. Four years later, Denise is happy to report that she is in remission.
Even though she has the desire, Denise is not a practicing artist. She has lived vicariously through other artists and has immersed herself through the support of local artists and advocacy for the arts in the community. Her passion for art is what sparked her interest in joining The Arts Council Board and her passion for youth and education is what drives her to support the Scholarship Committee. Along with her involvement in The Arts Council, Denise has served on the boards of the American Heart Association, Scotty’s House, and most recently, Junction Five-O-Five.
Twin City Properties
(Cheryl & Doug Pederson)
Arts Business Patron Award
This award recognizes business leaders in our community who, through continued and generous financial and in-kind support, as well as personal involvement, demonstrate unparalleled dedication to arts and culture in the Brazos Valley.
Doug attended Texas A&M University on a basketball scholarship and is a member of the class of ‘80.
Upon graduating college he stayed in Bryan-College Station starting a construction company and in 1989 bought his first rental unit.
Cheryl is originally from Michigan where she put herself through college by lying to the state board that she was 18 when she was in fact only 17 and started a hair salon that paid her way through college.
From there she went to New York City where she was successful in many businesses, but most notably was one of the founding partners in what eventually became Monster.com the online employment recruiting business.
Selling her half of the business to her partner, she resided in San Francisco sharing time with homes in Montana, Sun Valley and Mexico.
Doug & Cheryl have been married and in business together with Twin City Properties Mgmt., Inc for 8 years and own and manage 750 rental units with 18 employees.
Doug is CEO and Cheryl is CDO (design).
Doug serves on the boards of The Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History, SOS Ministries and is a frequent guest speaker at Texas A&M business classes and the Aggie Investment Club.
Cheryl serves on the boards of Pink Alliance, a breast cancer awareness group, The Brazos Valley Animal Shelter and is a volunteer at Anson Jones Elementary School.
Jan & Grover Vos
Arts Volunteers of the Year
After forty-one years living the lives of corporate gypsies, Jan and Grover Vos returned to the Brazos Valley in 2013. Both are native Texans. In fact, Jan completed high school at Stephen F. Austin High School here in Bryan. Grover and Jan met on a blind date while attending two widely separated universities, one in College Station the other in San Marcus. Marriage followed college, two kids soon followed marriage and 48 years later, they stand before us as STARs members of the Arts Council of the Brazos Valley.
With diverse interests, one a special education professional and the other an environment, health and safety executive, both are and have been preeminent joiners. Their organizational involvement, as members and officers, spans social, church, professional and philanthropic organizations in over 10 different communities in seven different states. In addition to the Arts’ Council, Jan was a volunteer for “Art Goes to School”, is currently an officer in a local philanthropic organization, has been on the board of Brazos Valley Newcomers Club since 2013, is in the Garden Interest Group of the Texas A&M Women’s Club and was a Brazos County Master Gardener.
Grover, in addition to being in STARs, volunteers at the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, doing what he does best: shaking hands, telling people where to go and serving wine and beer as needed at Library functions. He is a member of the Brazos County Master Gardeners Association and was the local director of education for them a couple of years back. In his spare time he helps out as a member of Our Savior Lutheran’s Church Council.