Doug and Jill Fonner Named 2017 Artworks Patron of the Arts
Corey Fonner-Gualdoni was all smiles as Dr. Roxanne Cullen began to read the tribute recognizing her Dad, Doug Fonner, as the Artworks Patron of the Arts at the organization’s annual gala. Her smile grew even wider as she watched her Mom’s face when Dr. Cullen shared details about Jill Fonner’s accomplishments. Mrs. Fonner had been told that her husband was being surprised with the award but was unaware that she was being honored. Artworks Executive Director Lynne Scheible had enlisted their daughter Corey’s help in planning the surprise.
Scheible commented, “Doug and Jill are quiet giants – that’s what I think of when I think of Doug and Jill.” She explained, “So much happens because of them and most people would never ever know. They are gentle, thoughtful and generous beyond any expectations. We are so bless they choose to help Artworks in so many ways. The best part is that they are kind, hopeful people that make a difference.”
During Doug Fonner’s 34 year teaching career at Ferris State University, he helped thousands of students to advance their knowledge of physiology as they pursued degrees in healthcare. The Ferris State University Academic Senate honored him for his teaching excellence with their Distinguished Teacher Award. He created an award recognizing the Outstanding Faculty Advisor knowing that an important aspect of higher education is having meaningful experiences outside the classroom and laboratory that help create contributing citizens. In retirement, he has become an accomplished stained glass artist working in both lead and copper foil to create functional and decorative pieces.
Jill Fonner, known professionally as J. Everest Fonner, is a watercolorist who is inspired by Michigan’s woodlands. She paints from direct experience of the natural world and is known for her use of deep values and fine details to express the beauty of our state. Her work has been accepted in numerous juried fine art competitions including the Michigan Water Color Society and the National Watercolor Society and her work has been seen in a number of arts magazines including ARTtrends, U. S. Art, InformArt and Women in the Arts from the National Museum of Women in the Arts. She recently has expanded her involvement in digital printing for the fine arts by experimenting with printing as a medium.
Doug is Artwork’s webmaster, volunteers in the Gift Shop, teaches classes and provides artist demonstrations. The couple provides for the behind the scenes supply needs of the building that serves as home to Artworks. They sponsor summer art camp scholarships that enable children to experience and learn about art. The Art Will Take You Places Annual Gala auction included gifts of art created by the Fonners.Presented annually by Artworks since 1984, the Patron of the Arts Award recognizes individuals who have shared their talents, expertise, time and/or financial support to Bring the Arts to Life for our community.