Greater Conroe Arts Alliance Awards
The GCAA Visionary Montie Award is given to anyone who, through their unique vision, action, support, creativity, or initiative created a long lasting positive artistic development of an event, organization, or program in the Greater Conroe Area. The impact of this person’s vision is still felt today and the results of their efforts have enriched and benefitted the arts community and quality of life in Montgomery County.
2014 J. Ross Martin III, civic leader and arts supporter
The Greater Conroe Arts Alliance’s Visionary Montie Award went to J. Ross Martin III, an entrepreneur, civic leader and political figure in Montgomery County, who has been a longtime supporter of the arts and live performance, as well as a key figure in the development of the Conroe Catfish Festival, the Sounds of Texas Series and numerous other endeavors promoting music and the arts in the community.
Presented to Martin by Conroe City Councilman Duke Coon and actor/sculptor Craig Campobella, the Visionary Montie Award is given to someone who, through their unique vision, action, support, creativity, or initiative creates a long-lasting positive artistic development of an event, organization, or program in the Greater Conroe Area, resulting in the enrichment and benefit of the arts community and quality of life in Montgomery County.
"Conroe is fortunate to have the support of the business community and local government that have an appreciation for the arts," said Martin. "Few communities the size of Conroe could have and support two community theatres that do such an excellent job and have so many programs that bring live music and other artistic entertainment to the community."
Photo: J. Ross Martin III
2013 Dr. Aline Arnold, executive director of the Conroe Symphony Orchestra
Dr. Aline Arnold has turned volunteering for the Conroe Symphony Orchestra into a full-time gig. For the past 14 years, she has guided the symphony as executive director and chair of the Board of Directors.
In addition to managing the Symphony, Arnold provides leadership for several associated groups, including The Friends of the Symphony, the Conroe Symphony Youth Orchestra, various ensembles, chorus and the Symphony Big Band.
She works tirelessly to provide youth summer activities in an effort to attract young talented musicians to the area, and her leadership has created the foundation for a strong future of the community orchestra.
“Dr. Aline Arnold represents the epitome of volunteer work and community improvement,” said Annette Spikes, Board member of the Greater Conroe Arts Alliance. “I marvel at the time commitment Aline makes to the orchestra.”
Arnold spent most of her life working in the health-care industry. She started in nursing, then became a business manager at a hospital before joining Baylor Medical Center in Dallas as executive assistant to the CEO.
Arnold decided to go back to school, and she finished her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees at the University of North Texas in seven years. She went on to teach management courses for health-related degrees.
After moving to Conroe in 1998, Arnold wanted a change of pace. She saw a newspaper ad for a marketing director for the Conroe Symphony Orchestra.
“I love classical music,” she said. “I didn’t even know Conroe had a symphony. There are a lot of towns bigger than Conroe that don’t have orchestras. I was really surprised.”
The work has been so rewarding that Arnold has continued for the past 15 years. She still feels like there is a lot to do. “We’re grown significantly,” she said. “But our vision is to be recognized as one of the most outstanding symphonies in the state, and that’s a big vision.”
Photo: Dr. Aline Arnold, Executive Director of the Conroe Symphony Orchestra, is shown here at the Owen Theatre with her husband, Gene Arnold.
2012 Susie Pokorski, chair of Young Texas Artists Music Competition, presented by the Montgomery County Performing Arts Society
Susie Pokorski has provided leadership and support for the arts in Montgomery County and the Houston region for the past 30 years. A lifelong resident of Conroe, she was honored by the Conroe Arts Alliance with their inaugural Visionary Award in 2012 for her exceptional contributions to the arts community. Supporting and encouraging talented young musicians has always resonated strongly with Pokorski, who has served as the chair and executive director of the Young Texas Artists Music Competition since 1998. YTA, an official Music Competition of the State of Texas presented by the Montgomery County Performing Arts Society, celebrates and supports the talent of young classical performers residing or studying music in Texas with written critiques, performance opportunities and cash awards. For over 20 years, Pokorski has been a board member of the Montgomery County Performing Arts Society. She also has served on the Education Outreach Committee of the Woodlands Waterway Arts Council and has contributed her time and support to the Conroe Symphony Orchestra and Houston Grand Opera. Beyond the arts community, Pokorski‘s service and dedication extends to current service to the Salvation Army’s Conroe Corps Advisory Council (27 years) and the City of Conroe Main Street Design Committee (10 years), and past membership on the Conroe Service League, The Heritage Museum, Montgomery County Foundation Distribution Committee, Chi Omega Fraternity and the First United Methodist Church. She is married to Jim Pokorski, one of the founders of YTA and a long-time supporter of the arts in the area.
Pursuit of Excellence Monties
The GCAA Pursuit of Excellence Montie Award is given by individual organizations who are members of the Greater Conroe Arts Alliance. The recipient is chosen by an organization’s board or a vote from the membership. Its intent is to recognize an organization member who has shown exceptional growth in their artistry, achieved awards or other recognition that reflects positively on the organization, or who has been instrumental in bringing positive publicity or change to their member organization. This award can also be given to a member who has given an insurmountable amount of time or organization to an event or program that benefits the arts and the public at large in its mission.
Lynn Peverill, Conroe Art League
Annette Spikes, Conroe Symphony Orchestra
Amy Sowers, Crighton Theatre Foundation
Denise Schmidt DeBold, Stage Right
Jean Barnhill, Heritage Museum of Montgomery County
Timothy Eggers, The Players Theatre Company
Clifford Hudder, Montgomery County Literary Arts Council
John Wiesner, Montgomery County Performing Arts Society