Arts, Community, Park Forest

Patricia Moore Named Park Forest Business Person of the Year

Patricia Moore and Phil Perkins
Patricia Moore, Sam Montella Park Forest Business Person of the Year, and EDAG chair Phil Perkins. (Photo: VOPF)

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Local arts enthusiast Patricia Moore is the Sam Montella Business Person of the Year for 2016.

Park Forest Economic Development Advisory Group (EDAG) Chairman Phillip Perkins made the announcement at the Park Forest Board of Trustees meeting at Village Hall on November 28.

Moore, a local area product and curator of Salon Artists Gallery in the Village’s downtown, has a long history of involvement in the arts community. In her youth, Moore participated in arts courses at the Park Forest Art Center, now the Tall Grass Arts Association. There, Moore honed her craft and remained a fixture, eventually having a scholarship named in her honor. Now a well-known leader in the local art community, Moore has ascended from student to teacher, sharing her passion with countless area residents.

Moore received numerous nominations from Park Forest residents to secure the 2016 business person of the year award. Her reputation for excellence in the arts however extends well beyond Village limits.

United Street Gallery, a not-for-profit art gallery in neighboring Chicago Heights, calls Moore a “tireless champion of the arts.”

The lifelong Park Forest resident spoke briefly after being presented with a personalized keepsake noting her achievement.

“Thank you, everybody. I so appreciate this, and I am so shocked, surprised, grateful. It’s Sam’s award which is really meaningful,” Moore said, referencing the late Sam Montella whom the award is named after.

Moore’s Salon Artists Gallery is located at 294 Main Street.

About the Sam Montella Business Person of the Year Award

Patricia Moore and EDAG
Patricia Moore along with some previous recipients of the Business Person of the Year Award and EDAG members. Left to right, Janet Fiorenzo, Mike Jordan, Patricia Moore, Sandra Zoellner, Bree Breedlove, Phil Perkins, and Alia Davis. (Photo: VOPF)

The Sam Montella Business Person of the Year Award is an annual award that recognizes Park Forest business owners for their contributions to the community. In 2015, the award was renamed after Montella, a former Park Forest businessman and EDAG chairperson, who was an influential member of the Park Forest business community for decades.

Past recipients of the Business Person of the Year Award include, Janet Fiorenzo of Tower Cleaners (2009), Alan Franklin of Muzicnet Performing Arts Center (2010), Jim McDannel of Lifetime Automotive Repair (2011), Mike Jordan of State Farm Insurance (2012), Earl and Alia Davis of Quality Classic Health and Fitness Center (2013), Bree Breedlove of State Farm Insurance (2014), and realtor Yvette Jones (2015).

Several former winners of the award were in attendance at Village Hall to offer their congratulations to Moore.

Phil Perkins, chairperson of the Economic Development Advisory Group, gave an extensive background when presenting the award to Patricia Moore:

Raised in Park Forest, Pat Moore took art classes at the Park Forest Art Center, now known as Tall Grass Arts Center, Pat was the gallery director and director of its arts school for 3 six year terms. In the latter role, Pat moved the school to Downtown Park Forest and expanded the curriculum in the 1990’s. In 2002, Tall Grass Arts Association dedicated a scholarship in her name.

In her commitment to seeing the revitalization of downtown Park Forest, for many years Pat arranged for professional artwork installations throughout the holiday season. She loans her artwork for display at various Village facilities, and it can be seen along the second floor of the Main & Forest Street building. For six years, she has donated a significant piece of art as a principal prize for the Park Forest Midsummer Madness event. One year she coordinated a scavenger hunt throughout Park Forest and she co-hosted the award ceremony.

Pat’s work with children began in 1964 and through her special gift for teaching, she has reached thousands of young art enthusiasts. Pat was selected “Best Muses for Children” in the 2004 “Best of Chicago” issue of Chicago magazine. It’s no coincidence that one of the nominators for today’s recognition recognized Pat’s talent with children as he noted his coworker’s granddaughters “love her teachings and classes. Can’t wait to go back.” He also said as a tenant in the Downtown, that Pat is “a pleasure to be around. First of all, just the beauty of her artwork around the businesses is wonderful. Being able to walk down Main Street and see her work is great. Also, seeing her work at city events is great.”

Pat contributes works of art annually to certain charities or organizations for their fund raising events. In 1997, Pat submitted a lily painting to the Easter Seal Society competition, as a way of making a donation of art. Her lily submittal was one of the six seals selected for 1998. It was mailed to over 14 million homes.

Union Art Street Gallery officials call Pat “a tireless supporter of the arts.” Pat volunteers her time and has served in several capacities with the Chicago Southland Visual Arts Coalition, Village Artists of Flossmoor, Project Sam, and as a founder of “Art in Action”, in 1989. “Art in Action” is a program that hosts 4 artists and 1 musician in a Chicago or Indiana school gym for the day. The artists demonstrate what they do, answer questions produce pieces, sometimes in concert with the students. Alan Franklin, a previous winner of the Business Person of the Year award, has taken part in “Art in Action” for the past 5 years.

Since 2009, she provided art classes as part of Park Forest Summer Camp. This past summer, the camp produced a 6’ by 14’ mural for the Park Forest Aqua Center.

A true supporter of Park Forest, Pat operates her art studio upstairs at 274 Main Street and she co-manages and curates the Salon Artists Gallery, a collaboration of artists, at 294 Main Street. She has participated in the annual Park Forest Art Fair, held in September, since 1968.

Patricia works within the public schools to encourage and engage young artists. She coordinates exhibits of student artwork to display at a variety of locations. The Park Forest Library had 22 sculptures and 35 framed pieces from Tall Grass Arts Association students and the “Young Picassos” class for the “Butterfly Exhibit” held from June through August of 2016. She conceived “Art Trek” to encourage art organizations tow work together to make art a part of everyday life.

It was noted that Pat encouraged 2 of her adult art students, now the owners of Quality Classic Health and Fitness Center (also previous Business Persons of the Year Awardees) to open in downtown Park Forest. Pat is a cheerleader for all things Park Forest. She has enabled a diverse group of people to succeed together.

The members of EDAG recognize Patricia Moore’s selfless dedication to the promotion of art as a means of fostering collaboration, understanding, and engagement – one person at a time, across many ages and in multiple settings. For that EDAG honors Patricia Moore with the Sam Montella 2016 Park Forest Business Person of the Year Award.

Source: VOPF, Phil Perkins