Mark Wood receives 2017 Award of Excellence in the Arts

Starkville Area Arts Council Executive Director John Bateman and President Walter Diehl presented Chalet Arts owner Mark Wood with the 2017 Award of Excellence in the Arts during the Starkville Area Arts Council Area Annual Gala. (Submitted photo)
Staff Writer

Mark Wood, owner of Chalet Arts in Starkville, is the 2017 recipient of the Award of Excellence in the Arts, given by the Starkville Area Arts Council.

The award is nominated by SAAC board members and is not given every year, and it goes to the individual, group, or organization who has contributed the most to promote and build the arts in the Starkville area.

“Well-deserved and long overdue,” SAAC Executive Director John Bateman said. “I don’t think the general consumer is aware of how much help and thought Mark gives to artists without any recognition. He truly cares about helping highlight the tremendous talent that exists in Starkville.”

Past Board President Jon Turner said the board are very excited to honor Wood with this award.

"I can't say enough about the support he has provided SAAC over the years," Turner said. "He is a perfect example of how much Starkville cares for its arts community."

Walter Diehl, photographer and current SAAC Board President said he knows firsthand of Wood’s enormous generosity when it comes to working with artists and their artwork.

"I appreciate Mark’s careful critique as well as his gifted eye in helping to make my photographs stand out," Diehl said. "Whatever success that I have had in photography owes in part to my productive and positive interactions with Mark.”

Joe MacGown said Wood “has single handedly done more to promote the arts in the Golden Triangle region than anyone.”

Artist Laurie Burton and former SAAC Board President said, across the board, artists who have worked with Wood find him helpful, generous, and enthusiastic. He often gives supplies and services to art students and artists at reduced or no charge: too many discounts to count.

Burton described Mark’s thoughtful and sound advice when discussing presentation, printing, or framing. His critical and positive feedback motivates artists to excel and he is often thought of as the artist’s biggest supporter, and Wood’s relationship with art students and local artists goes beyond his bottom line and is an excellent example of a true supporter of the arts.