Retired educators and philanthropists Nancy and Gary Harrington, who live in Ruby Hill and have contributed extensively to public art in Pleasanton, have won the prestigious Mayor's Award for meritorious service to the community.
The award was presented last Friday to the Harringtons by Mayor Jennifer Hosterman at a special ceremony in the new Firehouse Arts Center, which includes some of the Harringtons' contributions.
Also honored was the city's Community Services Manager Andy Jorgensen, who was hired as a recreation supervisor in 1989 and will retire later this year as a recognized champion of many of the city's public arts programs and the Firehouse Arts Center, itself.
In giving the Mayor's Award, Hosterman thanked the Harringtons for their generosity in donating several of the most dramatic features of the new Firehouse center. Their name marks the center's new art gallery off the first floor lobby with a bronze sculpture positioned on an outside patio that they purchased on one of their arts-finding trips as a gift to Pleasanton. Another sculpture of a battle-weary veteran sitting on a bench with a flag in his hand sits just outside the newly renovated Veterans Memorial Building on Main Street.
They also have donated two large glass marquees designed by world-renowned architectural glass artist Martin Donlon as well as a statue of Claude Monet that will be installed near the outdoor plaza area. Later this year, the city will dedicate a glass bell that was crafted for the firehouse center in tribute to the firefighters who used to serve Pleasanton from the old Railroad Avenue firehouse.
There's more to come, Nancy and Gary Harrington said in accepting the mayor's award. They are drafting a 10-year plan to add more art and sculpture in the city with a program they hope will involve the public in an ongoing effort.
"We've been here for 38 years," Gary Harrington said. "Pleasanton has given much to us and we decided that we wanted to give back. So with your help after we receive the approval for what we hope to do, we ask that you share with us what will happen."
Added Nancy Harrington: "We're very happy and excited about public art. You'll hear a lot more as we go forward. We're thrilled to be able to do what we've done."
More than 200 attended the awards celebration, an annual event held to thank those who have served on Pleasanton commissions and committees during the past year, and their guests. Also there were former mayors and City Council members, regional elected officials and some of the past winners of the Mayor's Award, a program that started in 1971.