2014 Annual Meeting and MV Medal
Martha's Vineyard Medal Winners
Introduced by Skip Finley
Renee Balter discovered “home” when she came to the Island for the first time in 1954. It took a few years to get here, but in 1981, she and her husband Bruce bought a guesthouse (Titticut Follies) in Oak Bluffs. Built in 1870, it is one of the historic properties listed on the 1978 inventory conducted by the Massachusetts Historical Commission.
Over the years, Renee has been a major contributor to the town of Oak Bluffs. She helped jump start the Oak Bluffs Association in 1990. In 1998, she joined with the MV Commission to help reinstate the Oak Bluffs Historical Commission and was chosen to serve as chairman. During her term, the commission produced the Historic Walking Tour of Oak Bluffs and was able to complete a study that led to the creation of the Cottage City Historic District. She served on this district commission for more than a decade.
Renee is one of the founding members of the MV Center for the Visual Arts, which purchased the defunct Oak Bluffs firehouse in 1996 helping to create a community center in what is now known as the Arts District. As an artist, Renee captures the spirit and importance of the Victorian architecture of Oak Bluffs. Her work reflects the love she has for her town, its history, and its people.
Dorothy Bangs (posthumously)
Introduced by Denys Wortman
A Vineyard resident for 67 years, Dorothy Kenney was recruited as a vocal music teacher for the Island public schools in 1946. She retired from teaching in 1990 and is likely the single most important influence on the harmonies heard across the Island. In 1949, she married Stuart Bangs, a well-known grocery merchant and postal worker in Vineyard Haven. A year later, they built a house on the corner of Lagoon Pond Road and Skiff Avenue where they raised three sons. From the day she heard that the Museum was thinking of buying the neighboring Marine Hospital, Dorothy was an enthusiastic supporter. Sadly, Dorothy Bangs died in April 2013 at the age of 88.
In 2005, Dorothy was recognized by Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard with the annual Spirit of the Vineyard award. She was a long time volunteer at Windemere, the Tisbury Senior Center, and MV Hospital. Through song and conversation, she could light up a room. In addition to active participation in the First Baptist Church, Dorothy was a leader of the annual Daffodil Days fundraiser supporting the American Cancer Society for over 30 years. As a cancer survivor herself, she was devoted to the cause and to bringing spring to all Vineyarders.
Introduced by Jennifer Smith Turner
Richard Paradise has been the prime mover behind the Martha’s Vineyard Film Society (MVFS) since 1999. As its founding Executive Director, Richard has grown the Society into a 1,900-member organization with an audience of more than 30,000 annually. The MVFS’ nomadic life of showing films at the Grange, the Katherine Cornell Theatre, and numerous other places was dramatically changed when it opened the state-of-the-art MV Film Center in 2012 at Tisbury Marketplace.
The Museum has enjoyed a long partnership with the MV Film Society presenting vintage, classic, and documentary films relating to exhibitions and programming. As a fellow 501c3 organization, MVFS, under Richard’s leadership and encouragement, has long been a true collaborator with many Island organizations and causes. Richard has demonstrated that he cares deeply about Vineyard history and culture, knows how to celebrate it, and wants to share it with others.