The St. Johns Cultural Council honors women in the community for making significant contributions in the arts with its fifth annual Recognizing Outstanding Women in the Arts (ROWITA) ceremony at 6 p.m. March 10 in the Black Box of the Limelight Theatre in St. Augustine.
These women will be honored and recognized during the program followed by a reception. The keynote speaker is Jean Rahner, co-founder of Limelight. The 2013 winners are Diane Bradley, Debbie McDade, Patti Rang, Mary Siess and Wendy Tatter.
Bradley is an educator of the arts and a visual artist who is passionate about youth involvement in the art world. For the past eight years, Bradley has jointly presented the Annual All-County High School and Middle School Arts Show alongside the St. Johns County Schools. Bradley also led to the creation of the annual Tactile Show for the blind and visually impaired, which is now in its 12th year. Bradley continues to donate her time and efforts to the St. Augustine Art Association by managing their biggest fundraiser, the annual Spring and Fall Art and Craft Festivals and the Nature and Wildlife Exhibition.
McDade is a jazz singer who went to New York as a teenager to pursue her career. McDade is listed in the Encyclopedia of Jazz, and she adopted the stage name Debby Moore, which was given to her by Louis Armstrong. McDade released her record, My Kind of Blues in 1959. McDade sang alongside American jazz pianist Earl “Fatha” Hines and has also starred in movies while working in Japan. McDade is active in community efforts, while serving a board member of Excelsior Museum and Cultural Center and the Foot Soldiers Memorial Project.
Rang has been a cultural advocate and re-enactor in the creation and organization of events to celebrate the colonial life of St. Augustine for more than 30 years. She is a leader and contributing member of the East Florida Rangers and the 60th Regiment of Foot in local and regional events. Rang wrote a cookbook featuring campfire recipes that she fed to the Fife and Drum Corps while traveling with her family. Rang helped to establish the British Grande Illumination in 1975, and she was a leader of the Colonial Christmas Caroling in the historic district of St. Augustine for many years.
Mary Siess is an artist and an active volunteer with several arts organizations in St. Johns County. Siess is a leader and organizer in the EMMA concert association and is the president of the EMMA Guild and vice president of the EMMA board of directors. She enjoys working with watercolors and pen-and-ink drawings and jewelry design. Siess donates several of her creations to fundraisers of the organizations she supports.
Tatter is an artist who was introduced to the art of batik while attending Institution Allende in Mexico. Batik is a cloth that is produced using a manual wax-resist dyeing technique. Indigo, dark brown and white are the traditional colors used to represent the three major Hindu Gods. Tatter came to St. Augustine in 1988 and started exhibiting her work in local studios and restaurants. She opened W.B. Tatter Studio Gallery in San Marco in 2005. Tatter organized the San Marco merchants to participate in Uptown Saturday Night, which features art, antiques, boutiques and music each month. Tatter contributes her artwork to local organizations and libraries around the country.
Limelight Theatre is located at 11 Old Mission Ave., St. Augustine.