NRCA Board members (L to R) Charles Fazzino, Catherine White, Selena Evans, Zahra Jlayer, Theresa Kump Leghorn, Maddali Paci Atallah, Dave Fabris, Karen Keller Selman and Barbara Davis, with photographer Susan Nagib.

New Rochelle Council on the Arts wins ArtsWestchester’s Community Award

The New Rochelle Council on the Arts (NRCA) was honored as one of the “2024 Stars of the Arts” at ArtsWestchester’s annual awards luncheon on April 10th. The festive luncheon was held at Brae Burn Country Club, with CBS TV reporter (and New Rochelle resident) Tony Aiello acting as emcee. The NRCA received the Community Award, which is given to an artist, individual group organization or agency that has demonstrated extraordinary vision and leadership in using the arts to enhance community life, increase access to cultural experiences, or to enrich the county’s cultural heritage. 

ArtsWestchester’s Arts Awards – presented annually since 1976 – recognize individuals and organizations for their extraordinary impact on arts and culture in Westchester. Along with the New Rochelle Council on the Arts, this year’s honorees included the Neuberger Museum of Art, Arc Stages, artist Jorge Otero-Pailos, Lee Balter and Elizabeth Diaz, with “Advancing Equity Awards” given to Andromeda Turre, New Era Creative Space and Yonkers Art.  

The program included remarks from legendary ArtsWestchester leader Janet Langsam, who is stepping down as CEO after 33 years, and Westchester County Executive George Latimer, as well as a performance by acclaimed jazz vocalist Andromeda Turre, who previewed her upcoming Jazz Suite “From the Earth.”

New York State Representative Steve Otis presented the Community Award to NRCA President Theresa Kump Leghorn, who accepted the stunning crystal statuette but made it clear in her speech that the award belongs to the entire NRCA Board, a group of creative and hardworking volunteers who make the arts happen in New Rochelle. “We received 134 submissions for our 18 Summer Sounds Concerts this year and the committee listened to every one of them!” she noted, before thanking ArtsWestchester and the City of New Rochelle for its continued support.

“If you haven’t visited our city to see our murals, hear our concerts or experience ArtsFest, make this the year you come to New Rochelle, a city that celebrates the arts!” she added.

New Rochelle was well represented at the event: Among those attending were Mayor Yadira Ramos-Herbert; Westchester County Legislators Terry Clements and Judah Holstein; ArtsWestchester Board member LaRuth Gray; and NRCA Board members including Treasurer Karen Keller Selman; Corresponding Sectary Maddali Paci Atallah;  artist Charles Fazzino;  Catherine White, Executive Director of the New Rochelle Chamber of Commerce; designer Selena Evans;  Zahra Jlayer, owner of the Vanda Gallery; musician Dave Fabris; and City Historian Barbara Davis, Co-Director of the Westchester County Historical Society; and Advisory Board members Linda Kelly Fauci, retired Superintendent of Schools, and Leah Sills, who also sits on ArtsWestchester’s Board of Directors.

The New Rochelle Council on the Arts was created by the New Rochelle City Council in 1975 to encourage the study and presentation of the performing and fine arts; for nearly 50 years the NRCA has worked to fulfill that mission by sponsoring art exhibitions, public art, theatrical productions, dance recitals, film screenings, lectures, and concert series. NRCA’s signature programs include the NRCA Rotunda Gallery at City Hall, the Summer Sounds Concert Series at Hudson Park (drawing 400 to 600 people every week for an eclectic lineup of live bands) and ArtsFest, a weekend-long celebration every fall with 40 venues representing the work of 250 visual and performing artists. NRCA has also taken the lead in bringing public art to New Rochelle:  NRCA’s most recent projects include the #NRNY Murals — 20 high impact large-scale works installed in two phases (eight murals in 2019 and 12 more in 2022) – and a life size bronze statue commemorating long-time resident author E.L. Doctorow installed last October.

To learn more about NRCA visit the website at