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Actress Olympia Dukakis Among Those Receiving State Cultural Awards

Olympia Dukakis (Courtesy of the Massachusetts Cultural Council)

Olympia Dukakis (Courtesy of the Massachusetts Cultural Council)

Academy Award winning actress Olympia Dukakis, philanthropists Neil and Jane Pappalardo, and Worcester’s EcoTarium will be among the honorees at the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s 2013 Commonwealth Awards today.

The awards are given out by the state arts agency every two years to “shine a spotlight on the extraordinary contributions the arts, humanities, and sciences make to education, economic growth and vitality, and quality of life in communities across Massachusetts. The Commonwealth Awards ceremony also presents an opportunity for the Massachusetts nonprofit cultural sector to gather and assert its value and make the case for public investment in its work.”

The free public ceremony beginning at 1 p.m. today at the Massachusetts State House in Boston will honor Lowell native Olympia Dukakis for creative achievements that “have uniquely enriched the life of Massachusetts. She’s best known for her work in movies, including her Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for her role as Rose Castorini in the 1987 film “Moonstruck.” She’s also appeared in the films “Mr. Holland’s Opus,” “Steel Magnolias,” “Look Who’s Talking” and “Mighty Aphrodite.”

The communities of Barnstable and Shelburne Falls will be celebrated for demonstrating “the central role of arts and culture in building healthier, more vital, more livable communities.”

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art
in Amherst will receive the creative learning award for demonstrating the “importance of creativity and innovation to student achievement and success.”

Neil Pappalardo, chairman and CEO of Medical Technology Inc. (Meditech) of Norwood and his wife Jane will be honored for their cultural philanthropy, including “providing major gifts” to the Bostonian Society, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Museum of Fine Arts, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Huntington Theater, and the Museum of Science.

Marvin Gilmore, who for than 35 years has owned and operated the Western Front, a club presenting reggae, Latin, jazz, and salsa music in Cambridge, will be honored for his cultural and community leadership.

WGBH reporter Jared Bowen and The Boston Phoenix (for which I also write) will receive the media awards for their “outstanding support of the cultural community in Massachusetts.”

The EcoTarium
Art in Worcester will be honored for fusing “the arts and sciences for public benefit.” And Community Access to the Arts in Great Barrington is being celebrated for its workshops in theater, dance, writing, juggling, drumming, visual art and set design that “make arts and culture accessible and inclusive for older adults, individuals with disabilities, and other underserved populations.”

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