Henriette Reiss Awards have been presented every year since 1993. At first they were based on faculty nominations, now they are in response to individual applications. From 2003 to 2011—in an effort to increase public awareness—festive presentation events were held at changing venues in Columbia County. Lively celebrations of various arts highlighted artistic process and provided a platform for talents and achievements of individuals in the Hawthorne Valley community. Since 2012 presentations have taken place at the school. We hope that the vignettes below can convey some of the lively and enthusiastic ambience.

Gratefully acknowledged are the generous gifts of time and resources from many supporters: artists who have performed and exhibited; venue organizations and volunteers who have helped with everything from cleaning to food to photography; and last not least, friends who have contributed funds.

June 6, 2018 at Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School:

Helena Zay (’08) and Jacob van Beusichem (’18) were recipients of the 2018 awards. Eric Müller welcomed everyone to the celebration, and the High School Chorus—under the direction of Nancy Lundy and accompanied by pianist Natalia Shevchuk—delighted the audience with spirited selections from Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. Helena and Jacob’s paintings provided a strong backdrop for George Riley’s remarks about the award. Both recipients then spoke about their work, what moved them, and about their future plans. 

June 7, 2017 at Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School:

This year marked the 25th award presentation, with Gwendolyn Sherman (’98) and Myra Crane (’17) receiving the 2017 awards. In his welcome Eric Muller noted that he had just read Bob Dylon’s Nobel Prize speech and was struck by a correspondence: Dylan expressed the need for art to be alive—which is just what is underlying the Henriette Reiss award. The high school chorus (under Larry Glatt’s direction) presented two songs from very different ages and lands: “Heya Himna Smidyr”, an Icelandic hymn written in the early 13th century and set to music about 700 years later, and “Hasta Siempre” by the Cuban songwriter Carlos Puebla, from 1965. George Riley pointed out the two large photographic posters on the stage—one showing Elizabeth Papas (whose idea and initiative created the award) with first awardee Rebecca Hartka in 1993, and the other showing Henriette Reiss about 1908, the only woman in a group of seven young people clad in painting smocks. George said he recently saw the film Paula which is about the life of German painter Paula Modersohn-Becker (1876-1907)—and it made him aware of the enormity of obstacles faced by a woman artist a century ago and how times have changed.

Kristin Dalton Bugsby then presented the awards, recalling her own experience as a recipient seven years before. She had felt a need to honor the gift by being productive, and also developed a curiosity about this person behind the award. Reading Henriette’s poetry created something like a bond, leading to the insight that the work of an artist is like a seed that grows and produces more creativity in future generations. In accepting the awards Gwen and Myra each spoke about their own work and plans for the future. Gwen showed slides of her drawings, paintings, graphic design, landscape design and sculptures, and some of Myra’s paintings were on view. As a farewell Eric told the anecdote of John Lennon first meeting Yoko Ono in an art gallery. Yoko had created an installation—a ladder reaching to something very small high up on the ceiling, with tiny writing on it. Lennon climbed up to see and found the word YES. There was enthusiastic response from the audience!


June 8, 2016 at Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School:

Eli Gale

Cecelia Bellows ('16) and Elizabeth Gale ('15) were presented with the 2016 awards at an inspiring high school assembly devoted to the occasion. Eric Muller and George Riley guided us through the program which opened with the high school's a cappella group. Seamus Maynard (a recipient ten years before) presented the awards with thoughtful words and a beautiful song. Elizabeth and Cecelia each shared some of their work with the audience. Elizabeth gave us excerpts from What is Genocide?, her final project performance piece at Concordia, which was choreographed and performed by her. Cecelia stepped back into the senior play and presented a Mephisto monologue from Goethe's Faust. The high school chorus and a jazz interlude with Zoe Ronan, trumpet, closed the event.




June 10, 2015 at Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School:

Talya Phelps ('15) and Jonah Simonak ('10) were the 2015 recipients, each receiving a $1,500 check and a copy of Moods and Melodies, a numbered and signed limited edition book of poetry by Henriette Reiss which each awardee has been given.

Family and friends, faculty, high school and seventh grade students gathered in the hall which still featured the stage set from the previous night's senior play. The High School Chorus presented a rendition of “What Wondrous Love”, a New England shape-note hymn, followed by an arrangement of an Israeli song. Before presenting the awards, 2014 recipient Zoe Ronan talked about his studies at Boston University’s College of Fine Arts School of Music and played a trumpet piece, accompanied by Gili Lev on piano. Talya spoke about her passion for the recorder and her plans for attending the Amherst Early Music Festival and played a beautiful and lively recorder piece. Jonah read an excerpt from a story he’d recently written. His great interest in creative writing developed at Hawthorne Valley and was pursued further at Hampshire College and during internships at two publishing houses. He intends to work toward an MFA degree at Brooklyn College.

A Special Recognition award was presented to Ezra Glatt ('13), who has devoted himself since his graduation to music composition and performance. He has formed a band, Wilber Forest, made his first CD and hopes to create a second one with new compositions. He was joined by two of his bandmates to perform two songs for an enthusiastic audience.

In his closing remarks Eric Muller expressed the gratitude and appreciation we all felt toward these dedicated and talented young people who will surely go far on their artistic paths.


June 11, 2014 at Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School:

Zoe Ronen ('14) and Myles Ryan ('05) were the recipients of the 2014 awards, each receiving a $1,500 check at the celebration which was held as a special High School assembly  with faculty, family and friends in attendance.

Eric Muller was emcee. The High School Chorus presented “Rise Up, O Flame” in three-and eight-part rounds, followed by the Simon & Garfunkle arrangement of “Scarborough Fair”. Ted Pugh spoke about the background of the award and the connection between Henriette Reiss’ belief in art as a humanizing social force and the goals of Waldorf education. 2013 recipient Daniel Wall presented the 2014 awards. He told the audience what he had been doing in the past year and performed his original composition “Lay Low Generation”, singing and playing the banjo. This was received with great enthusiasm. 

Daniel spoke of his former classmate Myles Ryan who was unable to be present. Myles' training in Eurythmy had led him to Switzerland, where he encountered Kleinodienkunst, spiritually inspired wearable art. In an age of mass-produced jewelry, Myles recognized an unmet need well suited to his own artistic capacities. He wants to continue his training in metal work and gemology and open a workshop in the US. Myles’ mother Willa accepted the award for him; she presented a very impressive slide show of his recent work  and read a letter from him.

Daniel then presented the second award to Zoe Ronan who expressed his gratitude for receiving it and spoke of his plans to attend Boston University School of Music to continue his study of the trumpet, and of his gratitude for being selected for this award. Zoe then performed a piece for trumpet and piano he had written for his senior project, and then was joined by the High School Jazz Band for a rousing finale! A reception followed.


June 8th, 2013 at Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School:

The 2013 award was presented during the school's graduation festivities to Daniel Wall ('05) who delighted the audience with his inspiring remarks and with one of his original compositions.



June 9th, 2012 at Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School:

The 2012 awards were presented to Emily Fulop ('06) and Christian Petersen ('12) during the school's graduation ceremonies, giving students a chance to glimpse a possible future for themselves as they heard from two Hawthorne Valley alumni all forging an exciting path into the future.

 A graduate of Lesley University with a BS in Expressive Arts Therapy, Emily Fulop has written poetry and two full-length plays which have been publicly presented. At the ceremony, Emily read an excerpt from a longer poem she had written in homage to Alan Ginsberg’s classic poem Howl. Christian Petersen has written stories as well as poems and a play and plans to further his education in the field of creative writing. He read a poem written for the occasion.

An additional award was presented to Justin Lange ('02) of Brooklyn, N.Y. Dubbed the “Outside the Box” award, it recognized Justin’s creative technology research in developing an adaptation for the guitar to enable a player with limited hand strength to play the instrument. Justin gave an inspiring talk to the students, urging them to embrace technology while remaining fully aware of its dangers. 




May 28th, 2011 at Hudson Opera House:

Julian Müller ('11) and Daniel Kobran ('05) were the recipients of the 2011 awards

Julian has distinguished himself on the cello. He has performed in the Empire State Youth Orchestra, playing in Carnegie Hall and touring Europe. He is now continuing his musical studies.

Daniel has a B.S. in Environmental Design and has been working in architecture, most recently with John Fülöp Associates in Stockbridge, Mass. He wants to combine environmental design with "socially responsible" architecture and is attending the University of Michigan for graduate studies in architecture. A display featured some of his work. 

The awards were presented by Matthew Müller, recipient of the 2005 award. As Julian's brother he was able to share some humorous family incidents. This year's exploration of "artistic process" spotlighted the creation of recorded music. Will and Whim in Recording and Performance was presented by Rebecca Hartka (cello) and Gili Melamed-Lev (piano), focusing on the 2010 release of Ms. Hartka’s CD Folkfire: Music by DeFalla, Piazzola, Vaughan Williams, Bartok. Fascinating contrasts between the demands of live versus recorded music were illustrated by these two musicians. A reception with choice refreshments concluded the lively and enjoyable gathering.


May 29th, 2010 at Space 360, Hudson:

Kristin Dalton (class of 2000) received the 2010 award. Her primary artistic discipline is painting. She attended Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle and returned to Columbia County in 2008 to take the Free Columbia painting course with Laura Summer and Nathanial Williams. 

A special feature of this year’s event was the unveiling of the generous gift of a Yamaha CP300 electronic piano to the school’s music program by an anonymous past-award recipient. Eric Muller accepted it on behalf of the school and gave the audience a highly entertaining “tour” of some of the capabilities of the remarkable instrument. He noted that this professional yet portable piano will greatly enhance the musical accompaniment possible for events such as plays and graduations, and it will also expand the music program’s offerings to student musicians. The piano has an plaque attached: 

Bridging Worlds through Music: A Gift towards Music Education, Inspired by the Henriette Reiss Award.
In Memoriam, William A. Ward. 

The "piano tour" was followed by the award-winning short film Beautiful Hills of Brooklyn, starring Joanna Merlin and directed by Ragnar Freidank, who was present to describe the making of this film. A lively discussion followed the screening, with audience comments on the quiet beauty of everyday life which is so sensitively conveyed by the film, and on the remarkable relation between actor and camera.

The award was presented by Seamus Maynard, 2006 recipient who has since launched a successful acting career. He pointed out that receiving the award had confirmed to him the validity of his artistic path at a time when the risky nature of such an undertaking was all too apparent. Kristin referred to her desire to foster an arts community in Columbia County and pledged to “pass on” this gesture of recognition to other struggling young artists.

The warmth and hospitality pervading this event at Space 360 were enhanced by the gracious welcome extended by Ted Pugh, by Kristin's paintings which were on display, and by the exceptional refreshments which Julie Gale provided for the reception. 



May 23rd, 2009 at Falcon Hall, Triform Community, Churchtown:

Ahna Kane ('09) was the recipient of the 2009 award. Her long-time interest in the theater had inspired her to write, act in, and direct A Different Mindset, a theater piece of several monologues that was performed at Space 360 in Hudson. Ahna will study Theater Arts with a focus on playwriting at Drew University in New Jersey.

The event's art feature presented a unique opportunity to experience music, eurythmy, and modern dance in interaction. The audience listened to Between Spaces, an original piano composition by Gregor Simon-MacDonald which was then expressed first in eurythmy by Jeanne Simon-MacDonald and next in modern dance by Ashley Hartka. The artists shared a conversation about their collaboration and the challenges presented by their distinctly different art forms. The eurythmist could be seen as a kind of artistic translator (comparable to a poet who translates a poem into another language) who strives to be faithful to the meaning, the inner nature, and the gesture of the music. The modern dance piece demonstrated more of a conversation, a commentary on and reaction to the music in the soul of the dancer. 

With Ted Pugh as emcee, the award was presented by David Anderson of Walking the Dog Theater, who had worked with Ahna on her project as well as on several school class plays. As an unexpected bonus, Ahna performed one of her monologues, Answering Machine, revealing an exceptionally mature, witty, and promising young playwright.


May 24th, 2008 at Basilica Industria, Hudson:

Chandra Ping ('03) and Lauren Sansaricq ('08) shared the spotlight as recipients of the 2008 award

Chandra Ping has worked with painting, glass art, and leather work. Her glass art has evolved from stained glass panels to original jewelry created from self-made glass beads. “I first learned this technique from local artist Linda Hartka,” commented Chandra, and I’ve enjoyed building on those skills by exploring how the different glasses react with and relate to each other. Most recently I’ve worked on a series that integrates both painting and glass work, creating two-dimensional “mannequins” that are adorned with glass-bead necklaces.” 

Also a painter, Lauren Sansaricq was working with local master-landscape artist Thomas Locker. She said that beyond the techniques of painting, she was learning to observe light and color in Nature. “From what Mr. Locker has taught me, I find I see the world in a new way,” Lauren explained. ”When I’m in nature, I feel inspiration for scenes I would love to paint.” Lauren was accepted at the Grand Central Academy of Art in Manhattan, which admits only fifteen students each year. “I whole-heartedly wanted to attend the Academy, not because of its fame but because the students receive a classical artistic training similar to what the old masters received. I’m fully aware that the curriculum is rigorous and difficult, yet I’m excited at the prospect of learning about the things I’m most passionate about—drawing and painting.” 

The audience was given a treat when Walking the Dog Theater’s adult and after-school improvisation groups teamed up to explore the art of spontaneous imagination. The actors “performed” scenes and sketches based on improvisational games and audience suggestions, sharing their unplanned discoveries with an interactive audience.

An art exhibit featured works of the two recipients, as well as of Emily Hassell, 2004 Award recipient, who gave a preview of her upcoming solo show at the Basilica. The exceptional event finished with still one more treat: a delicious buffet provided by Fiona DeRis.


May 26th, 2007 at the Ghent Playhouse:

Emily Bolevice (class of 2000) was the recipient of the 2007 award. One of her projects as a photography student at the School of Visual Arts in New York City explored relationships between the natural and human-made worlds. Emily stated, “I’ve always been amazed by the natural world and how it responds to humanity, development, industry and pollution.” She described her photographs, a number of which were on exhibit at the event, as “observations of the beauty of the juxtaposition of organic matter and manmade material.” The award was presented by '05 recipient Matthew Müller, who spoke movingly about the impact that the award had on his life, influencing him to change schools and pursue a path in writing.

An Honorable Mention was awarded to Drew Wagner ('07) for her works of poetry, and she recited one of her poems at the event.

David Anderson and Ashley Mayne of Walking the Dog Theater delighted the audience with the first act of The Owl and the Pussycat, a witty and humorous Broadway play about two radically opposite personalities who are thrown together. Following the performance, the two actors and the director, Ted Pugh, who was also the event’s Master of Ceremonies, discussed challenges encountered in staging this play and demonstrated some of the exercises they undertook to prepare for its realization.


May 27th, 2006 at Spencertown Academy:

Seamus Maynard ('99) received the 2006 award and was honored in absentia. With Ted Pugh as emcee, the audience was treated to a sparkling performance by the celebrated husband-and-wife team Lincoln Mayorga (pianist, arranger, conductor) and Sherry Bauer-Mayorga (vocalist, songwriter, pianist, and folk-song collector.) They presented American Snapshots: Two Hundred Years of the American Spirit In Song and concluded their presentation by demonstrating, with flair and expertise, how they would go about arranging the accompaniment and pacing of a song they had not previously performed (in this case, Waiting for the Robert E. Lee.)

An intense schedule at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, where he is a student, prevented Seamus from being physically present, but a giant photographic likeness of him commanded the stage. The award was presented by Emily Hassell (2004 recipient) to Seamus’s mother, Patrice Maynard. Vignettes of Seamus’s school days at Hawthorne Valley were shared, along with the text of a letter describing what it felt like to stand on the stage of the Globe Theater and speak a line by Shakespeare. The audience could identify with Seamus’s passion for, and devotion to, his art, even though he was physically far away.

A reception, creatively catered by HVS alumna Rebecca Hartka (the first HRA recipient) followed the performance and award presentation, allowing attendees to socialize and view the exhibition of works by past award recipients and by area artists.


May 28th, 2005,  Stageworks/Hudson:

Matthew Müller received the 2005 award for his poetry. Gabriel Giles (1999 HRA winner) presented the honors, which Matthew accepted with moving remarks and a poem he had written for the occasion. 

The accompanying arts celebration featured StillMoving: From Concept To Performance: The Art of Making Dances, a dance piece by Ashley Hartka (HVS 1989). Following the performance she gave an inside look at the art of creating dances. Ashley received degrees in Dance and in Women’s Studies from SUNY Purchase in 1995and earned her MFA in Dance from the University of Colorado in Boulder in 2005. Her career has included performing, teaching, choreographing, and photography. She received recognition for the best choreographed and performed work at the 2005 American College Dance Festival.









May 29th, 2004, Red Mills, Claverack: 

Emily Hassell de Aguilar, then living in Guatemala City, Guatemala, was the winner of the 2004 award.  A $1,000 check was presented to her at the gala celebration held at the Merchant and Ivory Foundation's Red Mills on Route 23 in Claverack. Emily had been living and working in Guatemala since 1995. Her goals were not only artistic but also social and cultural. She worked with a group of Guatemalan artists to help reestablish the arts in Guatemala’s postwar environment. Through this group, completely new and innovative ideas came into being, creating theater, public murals, dance, street circus groups, concerts, and formal art expositions. 

An Honorable Mention was awarded to Benjamin Dalton ('04). He shared the vision of using art to inspire social and political change. “Art brings people together,” he said, “whether or not their views on politics or life conflict with one another.”

Michel Tremblay’s touching play, “For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again,” was performed by Fern Sloan of the Actors Ensemble and David Anderson of Shakespeare Alive! The Red Mill offered an ideal setting for the art exhibition, which featured works by current and former Award recipients and by area artists; paintings by Henriette Reiss were also on view.


May 24th, 2003, Pleshakov Music Center, Hudson:

LeeLee Core, Tara Shumer-Decker, and Sabrina Tranchita ('88) were co-recipients of the 2003 award. It was presented to them by the previous year’s recipient, Emily Klavun.

Sylvia Traey

Sylvia Traey, internationally acclaimed Belgian pianist, explored music and painting in brief and intense introductions to pieces by Schumann, Chopin, Bartók and Debussy. The inspiring presentation was followed by a reception and dinner buffet, creatively catered by "Klara & Roseanne." The Pleshakov Music Center was transformed into an art gallery for the occasion, with over 50 works by area artists on display and available for sale through a silent auction, to benefit the Award Fund.