Museum to host Night of Distinction

LORETTO — The Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art’s annual dinner-and-awards event, Night of Distinction, will be held at the Loretto museum at 6 p.m. April 21.

It was established to honor individuals and organizations that have made an extraordinary impact on SAMA, the arts and their communities.

This year’s awards will be presented to: Bonnie Hoffman — Service to the Arts Award; Judy and Dick Scholton — the Volunteerism Award; Fred Danziger — the Award for Artistic Distinction; Mary Weidlein — Trustee Emerita; and Architectural Excellence: the Blair County Courthouse and Saint Francis University’s Schwab Hall.

Cost for the Night of Distinc-tion is $85 per person. Reserva-tions are required by April 16. For more information, call the museum at (814) 472-3920.

Service to the Arts

For nearly two decades, Bonnie Hoffman has been the foundation of SAMA-Ligonier Valley’s volunteer support system.

Originally from New Jersey, Hoffman moved to Ligonier in 2000 with her husband, artist William M. Hoffman Jr. She soon joined the SAMA-Ligonier Valley Auxiliary, and since 2001, has served as the organization’s treasurer. As a member of the auxiliary, she has spearheaded various projects including the Holiday Home Tour and Studio & Garden Tour. She has been a fixture on the Garden Party committee. Hoffman is also an active member of the Greensburg Art Center’s Gallery Committee, which is responsible for scheduling, planning and hanging exhibitions. For the last 15 years, she has served on the board of Southwestern Pennsylvania Council for the Arts in various capacities including serving on the executive board as treasurer since 2007 and as principle liaison between the Council and its participating artists.


“SAMA is fortunate to have two of the best volunteers in Judy and Dick Scholton of Hollidaysburg,” a release said.

Known throughout the banking community, Mr. Scholton has worked in the industry for more than 53 years in the Blair County region, and is a regional financial consultant with AmeriServ Bank in Hollidaysburg. Mrs. Scholton worked for Hayes, Large Architects for more than two decades and upon retirement opened and ran a Christian book store for 19 years.

Mr. Scholton has been involved with various charities and nonprofits and sits on local government agencies. He is an active member of seven boards. The couple have been attending SAMA’s gala for 25 years and are active volunteers with the gala committee, Leadership Circle and set-up crew. Mrs. Scholton is deeply involved with her church and helps to cook for and feed the less fortunate once a week.

Artistic distinction

“Fred Danziger is a contemporary landscape painter of extraordinary talent,” the museum release said. “Visitors of SAMA-Loretto may recall his 2016 retrospective, “The Light in Nature and Time.”

Danziger also donated his painting of the USS John P. Murtha to benefit SAMA’s gala live auction last year.

Danziger’s work has been featured in more than 20 solo exhibitions in Pittsburgh and Philadel-phia, as well as numerous group shows at New York City’s Sherry French and K.R. Perlow galleries. His work is included in nearly 100 public collections, including 11 American museums. His acrylic painting, “Morning Flight,” is part of SAMA’s permanent collection.

A native of Pittsburgh now residing in Elverson, Chester County, Danziger studied at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

He was nomination for a Mid-Atlantic Emmy last year and his painting, “Archaic Memory,” was featured on the cover of the State Museum in Harrisburg’s magazine.

Architectural Excellence

Originally built in 1875, the Blair County Courthouse was renowned for its intricate stone carvings and five-story clock tower. In 1906, an addition was constructed.

Weather and time have taken their toll on the courthouse, leading to its recent multi-year, multi-million-dollar renovation project.

Exterior work included restoration of two front tower roofs, re-creation and repair of missing and damaged stained glass windows, and restoration of the missing chin and gold leaf detail of the statue of Lady Justice, among other projects.

The work continues with the 1875 Courthouse and 1906 Lawyers’ Lobby.

Saint Francis University’s Schwab Hall was built 85 years ago for the science programs but has housed many different academic and administrative departments.

In July 2015, ground was broken for a year-long, multi-million-dollar renovation to convert Schwab Hall into the new home for The Shields School of Business.

From the exterior design with its signature “Charles M. Schwab Science Hall” embossed above the front entrance, to the terra-cotta tile on the first floor and the original transom windows above the interior doorways, pieces of the historical building harken back to decades of classes past.

New building features include a stock ticker, state-of-the-art classrooms featuring lecture capture technology, open collaborative and lounge spaces for students, a new finance and data analytics computer lab, and a “Vista” room on the top floor perfect for alumni receptions and viewing the Red Flash sports teams at the DeGol sports complex.

Trustee Emerita

Mary Weidlein, of Laughlin-town, traces her passion for the arts back to her childhood. At the age of 10, she would participate in Saturday art classes at Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh.

Weidlein’s passion for the arts and spirit of philanthropy have touched several organizations over the years.

In the early 1980s, she and her family moved to Ligonier, and her interest in horticulture led her to volunteer one day a week at the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh.

In 2000, Weidlein volunteered at the new Ligonier museum and joining the auxiliary.

By 2002, she was named to the Board of Trustees and served on its acquisitions committee until her retirement last year.

Over the years, she has been a driving force behind the Ligonier Museum and the Garden Party, including serving as co-chair of the 10th annual event.

In 2013, she was recognized as the Auxiliary’s Distinguished Honoree, the first person to receive the honor.

The Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art at Loretto is located on the campus of Saint Francis University. Hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 1 to 5 p.m. Saturdays. The Museum is open to the public free of charge. For more information, call the Museum or visit