Maine College of Art rolls out the proverbial red carpet on Thursday, as it hosts the 15th annual Art Honors celebration to recognize leaders in Maine’s creative sector.

The college in downtown Portland will present three awards to four people.

An Award for Entrepreneurship in the Arts will be given to businesswoman Roxanne Quimby.

The Award for Leadership in Art Philanthropy will go to longtime arts supporters Betsy Evans Hunt and Christopher Hunt.

The Award for Leadership in Art Education will go to Janet Manyan, a painting faculty member in the continuing studies program.

About 300 people are expected to attend. In addition to calling attention to worthy recipients, the event serves as a fundraiser for the school’s academic programs, said Tim Kane, vice president for advancement and college relations.

MECA will host Thursday’s gala in its Porteous Building at 522 Congress St.

It begins with a cocktail reception and ceremony at 5:30 p.m., followed by a dinner served in studios throughout the school and in the Joanne Waxman Library.

Artwork by students in the undergraduate and graduate programs also is on view throughout the downtown building.

Kane discussed each recipient.

“Betsy and Chris Hunt are being recognized for their significant contributions to the arts and culture of Maine and elsewhere,” he said. “Betsy was on our board for 17 years, and she and Chris were extraordinary supporters in every way — not just financially, but every other way you can conceive. She has chaired our capital campaign, and also is active with the Portland Museum of Art and the Farnsworth Art Museum.”

Manyan has taught at MECA for 15 years. As a painting instructor in the continuing studies department, she has taught more than 400 students over the years.

On Friday, the day after the Art Honors, MECA will mount an exhibition of work by her former students.

“We really wanted to recognize one of our own from the continuing studies program,” Kane said. “It’s an important part of what we do, and Janet’s work clearly connects to our mission. We also wanted to recognize her career as a painter.”

Quimby’s entrepreneurship award recognizes her belief that the arts play an important role in Maine communities and provide sustainable economic development through creative enterprise, Kane said.

It also recognizes her own artistic accomplishments.

Quimby, founder of Burt’s Bees, used her artistic skills to create a successful business, which she has since leveraged into a thriving foundation that supports arts and environmental causes across the state.

Past honorees include David Driskell, Bernarda Shahn, Beverly Hallam, Will Barnet, Neil Welliver, Alex Katz, Robert Indiana, Alison Hildreth, Angela Adams and Pandora Lacasse, among others.

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or at:

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