2014 Governor’s Awards for the Arts


Back row, l-r: David Amado, Jennifer Gunther (VSA Delaware), Eunice La Fate, Xiang Gao, Governor Jack A. Markell, Division Director Paul Weagraff, Patti Grimes (Joshua M. Freeman Foundation), Billie Travalini. Front row, l-r: Sharon Baker, Evelyn Swensson, First Lady Carla Markell, Council Chair Lise Monty, Michelle Freeman (Joshua M. Freeman Foundation). Photo by Kathy Buckalew.

See more images on Flickr


Six individuals and two organizations were recognized for their significant contributions and profound impact on the artistic and cultural life of Delaware at the 2014 Governor's Awards for the Arts on Monday, October 6, 2014 at The Grand Opera House in Wilmington. The event, which drew close to 800 audience members, was co-chaired by First Lady Carla Markell and Delaware State Arts Council Chair Lise Monty, with remarks from Governor Jack A. Markell, First Lady Carla Markell, Council Chair Lise Monty and Delaware Division of the Arts Director Paul Weagraff. Council member Tina Betz served as Mistress of Ceremonies.

Individual Winners

David Amado, leader

Sharon Baker, independent filmmaker

Xiang Gao, innovator

Eunice LaFate, advocate

Evelyn Swensson, lifetime achievement

Billie Travalini, educator

Organization Winners

Joshua M. Freeman Foundation, presenting

VSA Delaware, inclusion

The Award
Created by Michael Quattrociocchi, Milford

The Award Michael Quattrociocchi is an award-winning wood craft artisan. He started working with wood when he was 9 years old in a shop that was shared with his father and uncles in Rome, NY. He was featured on WHYY’s “First” program in January 2014 and was also selected last year to exhibit in the Curator’s Choice Gallery of the Biggs Museum of American Art in Dover, Delaware. He has won many awards for his wood craft and his work can be seen at www.quattrociocchiwoodwork.com.

"Treasure Box" is an Asian design made of wood with applied panels on front and back. The body is made of cherry with walnut legs and spline joints. The front and back panels are made of spalted maple in a "Landscape" design reminiscent of the Delaware shore. Landscapes may be a shoreline with fog, marshland scene, or estuary.


The Performers

Matthew SmithMatthew Smith
Matthew Smith’s love for guitar began while attending University Liggett School in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. All it took was one lesson from his Spanish teacher, Dr. Lauree Emery, to unlock his passion for music and guitar. Smith continued his studies at the Indiana University Jacob’s School of Music, earning a bachelor of music and a master of music in guitar performance.  Smith studied under renowned artists Maestro Ernesto Bitetti and Petar Jankovic and was one of eight students to receive a full scholarship to study under renowned artist Sharon Isbin at the Aspen Music Festival. A 2014 Delaware Individual Artist Fellow, Smith is on the faculty of the Music School of Delaware. 



Pyerce Lateef OatesPyerce Lateef Oates
A 15-year-old multi-instrumentalist who loves playing gospel, classical, show tunes and jazz music, Pyerce Lateef Oates attends Cab Calloway School of the Arts as a piano major. Oates plays with the Wilmington Youth Jazz Band directed by Fostina Dixon Kilgoe and Gerald Chavis and is band director of his own jazz ensemble, Quintastics. He has received more than 80 awards including the Cliff Note Award 2012, presented by former Mayor Baker, the 2012 Young Original Young Composer Award, presented by the Christina Cultural Arts Center, and the Outstanding Soloist Award from the University of Delaware's Jazz Festival in 2011 and 2012.