Gamble to receive state arts award

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 12, 2007

Greenville's own Roberta Peacock Gamble is one of seven outstanding Alabamians being honored next Wednesday night, May 16, at the 2007 Alabama State Council on the Arts' &#8220Celebration of the Arts” awards ceremony in Montgomery.

The event kicks off at 7 p.m. downtown at Troy University's Davis Theatre for the Performing Arts. A reception will immediately follow the awards ceremony at the Alabama Artists Gallery located in the RSA Tower.

Gamble, known as &#8220Miss Bobbie” to her many former students, friends and fellow members of the Greenville Area Arts Council, will be the recipient of the Jonnie Dee Little Lifetime Achievement Award. It is an honor recognizing someone who has devoted &#8220a lifetime of energy, service, and contributions to the arts in Alabama,” said Barbara Reed, public information officer for the state council.

&#8220Miss Bobbie is a treasure and we are delighted to be able to make this presentation to her next week,” Reed said.

Gamble, a Florida native, is noted throughout the state for her devotion to the arts.

She served as a drama instructor for a number of memorable musical productions at Greenville High School and was one of the pioneers who established the Greenville Area Arts Council 25 years ago in her adopted hometown.

Gamble's efforts helped transform the empty and abandoned Ritz Theatre into one of the city's crown jewels, where GAAC productions take the state each season, along with concerts, pageants, dance recitals and other community events.

Along with work for the local council, Gamble also served on the Alabama State Council on the Arts for a number of years.

Nancy Idland, executive director of the GAAC, is one of several Greenville citizens who plan to attend the gala event.

&#8220We are all excited about the opportunity to see Miss Bobbie receive this recognition. I know some of her family from out of state will be there and we hope to have several Greenvillians go and support her,” Idland said.

Idland, who is also Gamble's former student, believes there is no one more deserving of the honor.

&#8220Miss Bobbie has touched more lives probably than any other teacher, because she has kept on doing things in the arts here over the years.

This is a fabulous honor for her and for our community, too. She has done a lot for this town,” Idland said.

&#8220We can't wait to get all dressed up and go be a part of this fantastic celebration!”

Others being honored at next Wednesday's event are: the artist Nall, of Troy and Fairhope, winner of the Alabama Distinguished Artist Award; artist and philanthropist Kathy Chan of Huntsville, Governor's Arts Award; conductor Thomas Hinds of Montgomery, Governor's Arts Award; Paul Looney of Tuscaloosa, creator of the Alabama Stage and Screen Hall of Fame, Governor's Art Award; blues musician Jerry &#8220Boogie” McCain of Gadsden, Alabama Folk Heritage Award, and the quilters of Gee's Bend in Boykin, Living Legacy Award.

(McCain appeared to great acclaim at last year's Sweet Gum Bottom Blues Festival in Greenville.)

For more information about the &#8220Celebration of the Arts” or information on the State Council for the Arts, phone Barbara Reed at 334-242-4076, Ext. 223.