Renee and Leonard Minsky Receive UMaine Hartgen Award

Contact: Joe Carr at (207) 581-3571

ORONO — Longtime arts patrons and University of Maine benefactors Renee and Leonard Minsky of Bangor are the recipients of the fourth annual Vincent A. Hartgen Award.

The award, sponsored by the UMaine Patrons of the Arts, was presented in a ceremony April 26 on campus. Named for the late founder of UMaine’s Art Department and Museum of Art, the Hartgen Award honors individuals who, by their efforts, have distinguished themselves in the community of the arts at the university.

This year’s citation was kept secret from the recipients until the night of the presentation. The Minskys understood that UMaine alumnus Danny Williams would receive the award at right up until the singer and arts activist took the podium and delivered a presentation rather than an acceptance speech.

Renee and Leonard Minsky were cited for their support and stewardship of UMaine’s visual and performing arts, which benefit thousands of Maine school children and UMaine students. Like the award’s namesake, the Minskys have a passion for art and a commitment to the arts as an expression of the best in humankind, says Director of the School of Performing Arts Diane Roscetti.

“I often wonder what the University of Maine would have lost had it not been for the vision and generosity of Renee and Leonard Minsky,” says Roscetti. “Perhaps the best measure of generosity is the lasting impressions it makes upon those who experience its results.”

The Minskys have been actively supporting the University of Maine for almost four decades. Involvement by alumnus Leonard Minsky has included leadership roles on the Development Council, Campaign for Maine and UMaine Board of Visitors. Renee Minsky, one of the first volunteer docents at the Hudson Museum, has held leadership roles on advisory boards for both the Hudson Museum and the Maine Center for the Arts.

They have made naming gifts for Minsky Recital Hall in the Class of 1944 Hall, home of the School of Performing Arts, and the Hudson Museum’s Minsky Gallery in the Maine Center for the Arts. The couple created the Minsky Endowment to support the Hudson Museum and contributed to the establishment of the Emerick Endowment Fund for the museum. They also are supporters of the UMaine Museum of Art, now in downtown Bangor.

Both Renee and Leonard Minsky have been active in the Patrons of the Arts, the UMaine program founded in 1963 that encourages and supports student involvement in all the arts. Leonard Minsky has served as Patrons president since 1986. Leadership and fund-raising efforts by the Minskys have allowed the Patrons of the Arts to support touring theater, art and music performances, including the New England and European tours of the University Singers. The goal of such outreach is to expose elementary and secondary school students to the benefits of a lifetime of arts participation.

One of the Patrons of the Arts founders was Vincent Hartgen, who received the first award named in his honor in 1999. Professor Dennis Cox, director of UMaine’s Choral Music Program, and UMaine arts supporters Ted and Sandra Leonard received the second and third Hartgen Awards.