OSWEGO COUNTY - The Oswego County Tourism Advisory Council awarded its 2021 Tourism Ambassador Hall of Fame Award at the group’s year-end meeting. David Rath, council chairman, presented the award to this year’s recipient, Nancy Fox, founder and executive director of CNY Arts Center.
The Tourism Ambassador Award is granted each year to recognize an individual, business or organization for extraordinary support and commitment of time and energy to the Oswego County Tourism industry. Fox was awarded for her longtime service to the Tourism Advisory Council (TAC) and her exceptional efforts to create a destination for artists in Oswego County.
“Nancy had a vision more than a decade ago to establish a central hub for the arts in Oswego County where artists of all ages and abilities could come together and create, enjoy and collaborate,” Rath said. “She identified unmet needs in the community and found ways to fill the void through the CNY Arts Center. Her work has undoubtedly improved the quality of life for residents of Fulton and Oswego County.”
Fox started CNY Arts Center in 2011 through a grassroots effort, and 10 years later the all-volunteer, non-profit organization continues to grow in Fulton and serves as an anchor attraction in the city’s downtown. The CNY Arts Center is focused on creating a central location to enhance the cultural life of the community by providing engaging art opportunities. The center hosts arts events and programming throughout the year, including theater, writing and other forms of artistic expression.
Oswego County Community Development, Tourism and Planning Department Director David Turner said, “I have enjoyed working with Nancy from her early days of nurturing her organization to life. She has been a tireless advocate for enhanced arts within our communities and I am pleased that we could now recognize her for her efforts.”
CNY Arts Center moved to the current location in downtown Fulton in 2018 and the facility is being renovated with funding from the state Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) award won by the city of Fulton in 2019. Upon completion, the project would enhance the theater experience at the site and create additional seating and classroom space.
Fox was appointed to Oswego County TAC in 2013 and has been an active member of the organization, helping to develop the tourism economy in the county through more than just the growth of her own organization. Fox has also been an active member of the Fulton community and worked to make it a better place, recently serving on the city’s DRI Local Planning Committee to help steer the once-in-a-lifetime funds to have the greatest impact on the city.
Fox’s involvement in local theater dates back more than two decades. She earned a master’s in fine arts from Syracuse University in 1999, served as box office manager at SUNY Oswego’s Tyler Hall for several years and later founded Port City Theater in 2006.
The Tourism Advisory Council has presented Tourism Ambassador Awards since 1995. Past recipients include Philip Church in 2019; Capt. Kevin Davis in 2018 (posthumously); Oswego County Historian Justin White in 2017; the Lioness Club of Central Square and the Tailwater Lodge in 2016; Oswego County Legislator Jacob A. Mulcahey, District 15, Linda Middleton, the Oswego County Snowmobile Association and Arlene Johnson in 2015; Oswego County Legislator Margaret Kastler, District 1, Carole Sponable and Winona Forest Recreation Association in 2014; Robert Green, James Hotchkiss and Oswego County Legislator Morris Sorbello, District 23 in 2013; Oswego County legislators Shane Broadwell, District 17 and Shawn Doyle, District 3 in 2012; Bridgehouse Brats of Phoenix, Richard and Naneen Drosse and Fred Kuepper in 2011; Barbara Lighthall, The Palladium-Times and Fran Verdoliva in 2010; Margaret Clerkin, Oswego County Legislator Louella LeClair, District 25 and Mercedes Niess in 2009; David Rath and James Wright in 2008; Paul Lear in 2007; Mike Redding in 2006; Hank Cosselman, Donald Feck and Doug Ververs in 2005; Fred Crisafulli in 2002; Capt. Dick Pfund in 2001; Shirley Guenthner in 2000; Jim Walker in 1999; Tim Nekritz in 1998; Barbara Egelston and Charles Krupke in 1997; Sandy Resnick in 1996; and Helen Chetney and Edwin Lighthall in 1995.
The council has also presented honorary lifetime achievement awards to Charles Krupke in 2007, Lillian Harter in 2012, Rose Driscoll in 2014, Margaret Kastler and Milferd Potter in 2019, and most recently Morris Sorbello in 2021.
Members of the Tourism Advisory Council are appointed by the Oswego County Legislature Chairman and represent businesses, recreational and historic sites and museums, events and attractions throughout Oswego County.