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Warren Renaissance man William Mullane gets art award

Becky Keck, president of Students Motivated by the Arts, describes William Mullane of Warren as a Renaissance man.

The state of Ohio agrees. Mullane will receive a 2022 Governor’s Award for the Arts in the category of community development and participation. He is one of nine recipients statewide for the awards, which were announced Thursday by the Ohio Arts Council.

“I was really surprised,” Mullane said about being informed of the award. “There’s certainly good work being done everywhere in Ohio, and it’s particularly gratifying that it comes from a peer group.”

He also sees the recognition for himself as reflecting on the accomplishments of the area, which sometimes are overshadowed by the state’s larger metropolitan areas.

“Given the dynamism of the Mahoning Valley and all of the things that go on here and the number of people doing great things, it’s particularly gratifying (to be recognized),” Mullane said. “But anything I’ve been able to do is because of others. When you get something like this, I feel blessed they would consider me, but I know the people I’ve worked with all these years and that I continue to work with are really at the root of this.”

Mullane serves on the board of the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley, the Raymond John Wean Foundation, the Fine Arts Council of Trumbull County, the Trumbull Art Gallery, Any Given Child-Warren, Friends of the Fellows Riverside Gardens, the Medici Museum of Art and the Warren Philharmonic Orchestra, where he has held the role of board president for several years.

“There would be no SMARTS today without his mentorship to me,” said Keck, who was involved in nominating Mullane for the award. “He’s the one person in this community who has consistently supported the arts. He’s a Renaissance man — teacher, artist, administrator, collector. And he’s brilliant.”

He also takes an active role, giving of his time and talents as well as financially supporting the arts.

“This award often goes to someone who just writes a check, and that’s beautiful. I get those checks,” Keck said. “Bill’s a doer. He’s not afraid to take the risk … He deserves this more than anyone I’ve known in the arts community in the 20-some years I’ve been involved with it.”

FACT Director James Shuttic agrees.

“There is not a single individual that I can think of that is more deserving of the award than Bill. The amount of time and effort Bill has selflessly spent over the years into bettering the community, especially via the arts and education, is saint level,” he said. “That is why when Karen (Schubert of Lit Youngstown and Power of the Arts) and I first talked about nominating Bill, it seemed like such a no-brainer. I was actually shocked Bill hadn’t been recognized up until this point.”

Donna S. Collins, executive director of the Ohio Arts Council, said in a statement released with the announcement, “The 2022 Governor’s Awards winners exemplify the strength of the arts in Ohio. Their stories, community support and accomplishments illustrate how our state’s arts sector works together to improve the lives of Ohioans. The Ohio Arts Council is proud to celebrate their work and achievements, bolstering Ohio’s legacy and reputation as a creative place to live, work, and raise a family.”

The other recipients for 2022 are Gladisa Guadalupe of Bedford Heights for arts administration; Richard “Duarte” Brown of Columbus and K12 Gallery & TEJAS of Dayton for arts education; Burt and Alice Saidel of Dayton for arts patron; KeyBank of Toledo for business support of the arts; Boneyfiddle Project of Portsmouth for community development and participation; and Alan Cottrill of Zanesville and Weichih “Rosa” Lee of Solon as individual artists.

The recipients will be honored during a ceremony May 11 in Columbus.

“I like that it recognizes that art needs advocates,” Mullane said. “It’s really about advocacy and community engagement, and that’s always been my area of interest.”

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