MODESTO — Nearly a year after she abruptly resigned as head of the Stanislaus Arts Council, which then folded, Grace Lieberman has maintained her steadfast support of Modesto arts.
Working as a volunteer, the 83-year-old community icon has continued to keep some of her favorite programs running and to perform in community concerts and shows. "The arts are my love," she said.
Friday, the music department of California State University, Stanislaus, will honor Lieberman for her lifetime achievement in the arts at its "Rising Stars of Stanislaus" concert featuring top voice students. The school is establishing a music scholarship for voice students in her name.
"Given that Grace has had a profound impact on all of the arts in our region for more than three dec-ades, it only makes sense that she should be publicly honored," said Joseph Wiggett, a voice professor at CSU, Stanislaus.
Lieberman quit the financially strapped arts council, which she helped found 35 years earlier, in June because she hadn't been paid in several months. She said at the time that if she didn't find another source of income quickly, she might lose her house and have to leave Modesto.
She has been able to stay through a part-time job she got with a local family. She doesn't want to provide details out of respect for the family's privacy.
Lieberman said she has had to make cuts to her budget to remain in her home. "I've had to downsize," she said. She has dropped her subscription to the San Francisco Chronicle, her pest-control service and her regular hair appointments.
She has been able to keep some of the arts council's programs running through donations and the volunteer help of community arts supporters. The youth Poetry Out Loud competition was held Feb. 5 at Modesto Junior College. Lieberman is restarting the Serenades on Sundays concert series at 3 p.m. Sunday with an encore of the "Rising Stars of Stanislaus" concert at the McHenry Museum auditorium. She is producing the annual Senior Spotlight talent show at 1 p.m. April 28 at the State Theatre.
She recently presented her annual valentine's concert at Congregation Beth Shalom with her talented friends, and she plans to play Frau Schneider in Modesto Performing Arts' production of the musical "Cabaret" June 28-30 at the Gallo Center for the Arts. It's a part she played for the company in a staging several years ago.
Lieberman continues to sing with the Modesto Symphony Orchestra Chorus. She remains a member of the Modesto Culture Commission and the Gallo Center for the Arts board of trustees.
Those inside and outside the community continue to consider her a major source of information about the Modesto arts scene. She still is asked to speak to service clubs and provide details about what's going on in town. "I get calls all the time, all the time," she said, paging through the thick notebook she keeps of all her activities.
Lieberman is grateful for the support of her many devoted Modesto friends, but she can't say how long she will continue to be a part of the scene.
"I'm 83," she said. "I could die tomorrow."
Bee arts writer Lisa Millegan Renner can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2313. Follow her on Twitter, @MilleganRenner.
IF YOU GO ...
WHAT: "The Rising Stars of Stanislaus," performances by CSU, Stanislaus, vocal students
WHEN: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: CSU, Stanislaus, Snider Recital Hall
TICKETS: $12 general admission, $8 students, seniors, military and CSUS faculty and staff; complimentary reception to follow
INFO: www.csustan.edu/SOA/musictickets.html or (209) 667-3959