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Betty Cone Medal of Arts presented to Stephen Gee

by YES! Weekly staff

ArtsGreensboro will present the Betty Cone Medal of Arts posthumously today to the family of Stephen Gee, Co-Founder of the Broach Theatre Company. Gee, who was nominated by Touring Theatre of North Carolina Producing Artistic Director Brenda Schleunes and Board Chair Allen Broach, died of cancer on May 6, 2016, at the age of 60.Gee’s sister, Deana Ray of Winston-Salem, will accept the award. The award will be presented by its namesake, local arts champion Betty Cone, along with ArtsGreensboro Board Chair Florence Gatten and ArtsGreensboro Awards Committee Chair Sandy Neerman.A gifted actor, director, educator, and playwright, Gee formed the Broach Theatre Company in 1987 with his partner Hall Parrish and David Bell. Their decision to start a professional theatre company on Elm Street south of the railroad tracks, which was not a destination at the time, surprised many Greensboro arts supporters. But Gee, Parrish, and Bell proved the skeptics wrong; they built strong audiences for the Broach’s intense dramas and light-hearted comedies in the old Salvation Army mission at 520 South Elm Street.While he was running the Broach, overseeing and performing in its adult productions, Gee also created a Broach children’s theater, ran Dana Auditorium at Guilford College, and acted in Touring Theatre productions. After losing Parrish to cancer in 2008, Gee stepped away from the Broach, which closed in 2011; the building was purchased shortly thereafter by the Community Theatre of Greensboro and renamed the Starr Theatre.Gee continued to act and direct until a few weeks before his death.”Stephen was a very special friend of the arts and a creative force in Greensboro. All of us who used to attend productions at the Broach feel his loss deeply,” said renowned arts champion Betty Cone. “I’m sad that he’s not with us to accept this award, but I believe his spirit will be smiling down on us this afternoon as we present it to his sister.”First awarded in 1999, the Betty Cone Medal of Arts is the highest local award presented to artists. It recognizes artists who have achieved clear excellence in their disciplines and/or have made extraordinary contributions to their field or to the community at large through their artistry or expertise.In addition to Gee, ArtsGreensboro will also present the 2016 Arts Educator of the Year Award at its Annual Meeting and will recognize other 2016 award recipients who have been honored at earlier events:· Betty Cone, 2016 O.Henry Award: Cone, who also received the O.Henry Award in 1975, is the only two-time recipient

· The View on Elm, 2016 Arts-in-Business Award

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