On Monday, August 11, the 2014 Martha’s Vineyard Medal award ceremony, hosted by the Martha’s Vineyard Museum, took place at the Federated Church in Edgartown. This year’s recipients included Renee Balter, who was introduced by Skip Finley, Dorothy Bangs (posthumously) presented by Denys Wortman, and Richard Paradise, who was introduced by Jennifer Smith Turner.
The Martha’s Vineyard Museum introduced the Martha’s Vineyard Medal in 2009, awarding it each year to leaders in the community in recognition of their outstanding commitment to preserving the history, arts, and culture of Martha’s Vineyard.
Renee Balter has made major contributions to the town of Oak Bluffs. She helped jump start the Oak Bluffs Association in 1990. In 1998, she joined with the MV Commission to help reinstate the Oak Bluffs Historical Commission and was chosen to serve as chairman. During her term, the commission completed a study that led to the creation of the Cottage City Historic District. She served on this district commission for more than a decade. Ms. Balter is also one of the founding members of the MV Center for the Visual Arts. As an artist, Ms. Balter captures the spirit and importance of the Victorian architecture of Oak Bluffs. She lives with her husband, Bruce, at the historic Titticut Follies (built in 1870).
Dorothy Bangs was a Tisbury resident for 67 years. Formerly Dorothy Kenney, she was recruited as a vocal music teacher for the Island public schools in 1946. In 1949, she married Stuart Bangs, a well-known grocery merchant and postal worker in Vineyard Haven. She was a longtime volunteer at Windemere, the Tisbury Senior Center, and M.V. Hospital. In addition to active participation in the First Baptist Church, Ms. Bangs was a leader of the annual Daffodil Days fundraiser, supporting the American Cancer Society for over 30 years. As a cancer survivor herself, she was devoted to the cause. Ms. Bangs passed away in April 2013 at the age of 88.
Richard Paradise has been the prime mover behind the Martha’s Vineyard Film Society (MVFS) since 1999. As its founding Executive Director, Richard has grown the Society into a 1,900 member organization with an audience of more than 30,000 annually. The MVFS’s nomadic life of showing films at the Grange, the Katharine Cornell Theatre, and other Island locales was dramatically changed when it opened The MV Film Center in 2012 at Tisbury Marketplace. The Film Center presents a variety of modern, vintage, classic, and documentary films. MVFS, a 501c3 organization, has collaborated with many Island organizations and causes under Mr. Paradise’s leadership and encouragement.
Visit mvmuseum.org for more information.