The End of an Era – The 35th Annual Arty-Awards


Photo of Christine Mani receiving an arty for “Guys and Dolls”.

By Vivian Kringle

The PAN-Arts of  Solano/Napa county are preparing for their 35th Annual Arty Awards. The Arty Awards is an awards show celebrating the performances of highschools, youth theater groups and community theaters around the counties of Solano and Napa to win awards and come together as a community. 

Directors from each production around the counties submit Arty entries to a series of judges who will then watch the shows and nominate actors for lead roles, supporting roles, lighting design, sound design, and production as a whole; a  year later all shows come together for the award ceremony and individuals will win trophies, make speeches, and perform scenes or songs.  

Benicia High school has been entering into the Arty-Awards for years winning many trophies ranging from sound production for the show 12 Angry Men (2016) and best musical for 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (2017). They have also won many individual awards such as Garrrett Mingardi for lead male in She Kills Monsters (2017) and Pilar Gonzolas for lead girl in She Kills Monsters (2017), among a handful of many other awards. 

Theatre director for Benicia High school Nathan Day says, “We don’t do it for the awards. The Arty’s is where we get to come together as a community and see what other theatres are doing and support Them.”

Nathan Day stresses the importance of the Arty’s in creating a community of  people who share the same interests and are pursuing the same things. Due to the Arty’s, Benicia High school holds “Home games” and “Away games” where other high schools such as Rodriguez High school come to watch Benicia’s productions before they open, and Benicia watches their production so that each school can  see what other schools are doing before the Arty’s. 

Before posting the nominations for 2019, this summer the PAN-Arts website  wrote “The 35th Annual Arty Awards will be our final Arty Award event.” The president of the PAN-Arts explains that they want to “focus on other endeavors related to our mission as an organization,” ending the awards on the 35th year. 

Many schools are saddened by the news, feeling as if the tight community of theatres will lose their relationship. The loss of the Arty’s may be the loss of the recognition toward the theatre programs within Solano/Napa county schools. The Artys was held as a place to meet new people, to see other community theater groups, and overall it was a good achievement and goal  to set for highschool students. 

Through many years the Arty Awards has grown into something that excites actors in our community. The last one will be held Sunday October 6th at 5pm at the Downtown Theatre in Fairfield. The community hopes that the support and bond of every group around the community stays strong and inspired to create more wonderful shows. 

Garrett Mingardi a former Arty Award winner states “The goal for kids in drama will change. It’s going to be less about winning a trophy and more about creating a story.”

The ending of the Arty’s will change the theater community whether it is for the better or worse but whether or not, PAN-Arts remind people “The entertainment you give and the stories you tell enrich the lives that you touch”.       

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