Volunteers In The Arts (Vita) To Be Recognized At Annual Luncheon

Release Date 
Monday, September 29, 2014

September 29, 2014
George Hazimanolis

Frank J. Mack


The Dominion Foundation and WQED
A Year of Volunteers
A special luncheon celebrating the contributions of the
2014 Dominion VITA Awards winners
Friday, October 10, 2014
11:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
David L. Lawrence Convention Center
Downtown Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH - For 26 years, the Dominion Volunteer In the Arts (VITA) Awards (a partnership between the Dominion Foundation and WQED) have honored dedicated individuals who give their time and talents to ensure that the arts thrive in our region.
“The VITA Awards recognize the vitality volunteers bring to arts organizations,” said James Mesloh, senior philanthropy manager of the Dominion Foundation. “It is no surprise that Western Pennsylvania has wonderful arts organizations – it has wonderful arts volunteers. Dominion is proud to help honor them.”
The 2014 Dominion VITA Award winners are:
- Anne Burnham – Autumn House Press
A native of Dublin, Ireland, Anne is a founding director of the Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh. She’s a board member for Autumn House Press and member of the ECWAC of Pittsburgh. Her United States career includes founding editor and correspondent of Washington, D.C.’s Diplomatic Dossier, liaison for the International Poetry Forum, and director of the International Affairs Education Program at the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh. She has written documentaries on the arts for WQED television and has narrated with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.. Anne’s articles have appeared in The Washington Post and The Chicago Sun Times, among other publications.
- Laura Gordon – Band of Brothers Shakespeare Company
Laura Creed Gordon is a teacher of English since 1976, and winner of the National Endowment for the Humanities grant in 1990 to study with the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford, England, and the Folger Library in Washington, D.C. Laura serves as the principal artistic director of the band’s performances. She was named Alumnus of the Year for Longwood University in 1997, and received the YWCA Woman of the Year award for Arts and Letters and was awarded a chair in the National Theatre in 1998. The Johnstown Artists Hall of Fame initiated Laura in 2012. Laura dedicates her productions to Jessie Sutherland Gordon, who is true gold.
- Michael D. Moyta – East Winds Symphonic Band
As a member of East Winds Symphonic Band for 31 years, Mike has served multiple terms as a board member and president. He also co-founded the East Winds Saxophone Quintet. Mike graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with his bachelor’s degree in architecture. For the past five years, Mike has been serving as Concert Manager of East Winds, and they will host the annual national convention of the Association of Concert Bands in March of 2016. As one of three principals at Design 3 Architecture, Mike enjoys creating environments in the visual, technical and applied arts as a professional career. Mike lives in Churchill with his wife, Dorothy, and two daughters, Liz and Maddie.

- Mary Murrin – Quantum Theatre

Mary Murrin has served on the board of Quantum Theatre since 2006 and became board president in 2013. A communications leader by profession, Mary recognized a natural alignment of Quantum’s experiential and experimental works with Pittsburgh’s growing technology sector. She has focused on introducing Quantum to new and expanding audiences by building relationships with innovative technology communities and telling the Quantum story through new media. She currently leads social investment for Chevron, is an elected member of the Allegheny County Democratic Committee, and Chief Executive Mother to three young men.
- Mike Potemra – The Strand Theater Initiative
From 1967 to 1969, Michael worked with the Baldwin High School stage crew in the audio visual aid department and did recordings for the band and choir. He then worked with Fred Waring in the Pennsylvanians and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Mike spun records as a DJ before working with First United Methodist Church, doing recordings for WEDO radio. In the summer of 2002, Mike volunteered for the Strand Theater in Zelienople, PA. Mike helped design a new sound system for the new Strand Theater and later became the lead sound engineer. Mike has worked with performers like Paige Davis and John Oakes, among many others. He spends his free time developing and updating the Strand Theater’s website.
Since its inception in 1988, more than 240 volunteers from more than 170 arts organizations throughout western Pennsylvania have been recognized on WQED-TV, Classical WQED-FM 89.3 and at the annual VITA Awards reception. The awards are funded by an annual grant from the Dominion Foundation, which is primarily dedicated to improving the economic, physical and social health of the communities where Dominion has customers, facilities or assets. Dominion and the Dominion Foundation contribute nearly $20 million annually to nonprofit organizations.
WQED changes lives by creating and sharing outstanding public media that educates, entertains, and inspires. It is the parent company of WQED-TV (PBS); WQED: The Neighborhood Channel; WQED: The Create Channel; WQED Showcase; Classical WQED-FM 89.3/Pittsburgh; Classical WQEJ-FM 89.7/Johnstown; the Pittsburgh Concert Channel at WQED-HD2 (89.3-2FM) and online at www.wqed.org/fm; local and national television and radio productions; WQED Interactive (www.wqed.org) and iQ: smartmedia, WQED’s Educational initiative (www.wqed.org/edu).
The Dominion Foundation is dedicated to improving the physical, social and economic well-being of the communities served by Dominion companies, including Dominion Transmission. Dominion and the Foundation support nonprofit causes that meet basic human needs, protect the environment, support education and promote community vitality. For more information about Dominion, one of the nation’s largest producers and transporters of energy, visit www.dom.com.