At our opening event each year, first, second, and third place cash awards for the Arts Challenge are presented in each of the following six categories:

Fine Arts


Artisan Crafts




The following Memorial Prizes will also be awarded:

The Irvan Beale Memorial Award, sponsored by Irvan’s son, David Beale, will be awarded to a fine art entry by a first-time participant in the Community Arts Challenge.

 Irvan made his living as an optometrist, but he also loved to draw and paint. He especially enjoyed teaching painting to beginners.  


The Jane Zogg Memorial Award, sponsored by the Cortland Art League, will be awarded to the fine art entry that reflects Janes passion for painting.

Jane was one of the founders of the Cortland Art League. She loved to paint red barns, and she taught painting classes at local Senior Centers.


The Harry N. Davis Memorial Award, sponsored by Harry’s daughter, Joan Niswender, will be awarded to an oil painting or acrylic painting entry created by a senior citizen (over 65-years-old).

Harry N. Davis was full of life and his artworks, done over 60 years, display this in color, subjects, and movement.  Harry taught painting at the Homer Senior Center as an added activity for over 20 years. Painting and drawing were life-long passions, and Harry’s work hangs in public offices, private collections, and friends’ and family's homes. Harry N. Davis was a founding member of the Cortland Art League.


The David B. Blatchley Memorial Award, sponsored by Blatchley’s wife, Sharon, is given to a photograph that captures David Blatchley’s love for his community.

David Blatchley was a freelance photographer, a Cultural Council board member, and an Arts Challenge juror. He also helped develop the Cortland Arts and Wine Festival.  Blatchley took photographs that showcased the beauty of Cortland County and its residents. 

The Ruth Jones Olcott Memorial Award, sponsored by Ruth’s daughters, Lynn Olcott and Ruth O’Lill, will be awarded to an Artisan Craft entry in this year’s Arts Challenge.

Ruth Jones Olcott (1919 –1964) was a home economics teacher at Cortland High School who fashioned bold and colorful creations using a variety of materials including: wood, metals, fiber, and clay. Ruth succeeded in blending form and function in her works. Many of her artful and useful pieces are still enjoyed today.


If you or your organization would like to sponsor an award in one of our visual art, writing, music, or choreography categories, please contact the Center for the Arts at (607) 749-4900 or the Cultural Council of Cortland County at 753-1188.