WAVERLY TWP. — Peter Belin Jr. who, through his dedication to the community, the arts and the desire to memorialize his late father, F. Lammot Belin, created the Belin Arts Scholarship. This endowment was first awarded in 1964 and has gone on to benefit talented artists for decades. It has provided awards to men and women from various different backgrounds and regional areas, engaging in a multitude of disciplines such as painting, music, dance, literature, architecture, printmaking and more.
This year, as we enter into a new era of development for the Belin Arts Scholarship and Foundation, we remain dedicated and committed to continuing the vision of Peter Belin and his amazing gift to the community on behalf of his father.
The Belin Arts
On July 6th, 1961, Ferdinand Lammot Belin passed away. A lifelong lover of the arts as well as an active community member, he remained passionate about beautification efforts and became involved with many different restoration projects throughout his life.
F. Lammot also remained very devoted to the Waverly Community House and its mission. One of the most significant examples of his dedication to the Comm came in 1958 when he facilitated a much appreciated expansion of the auditorium in memory of his beloved wife Frances Jermyn Belin who had passed away in 1945. After his death 16 years later, his son Peter continued the memorial tradition that helped create the Comm so long ago in 1919 by giving back to the community in remembrance of a loved one. This time, the arts remained the focus of commemorative efforts.
This gift, initially labeled the F. Lammot Belin Memorial Fund, would go on to evolve into a sustained benefaction, with those awarded spanning in age ranges, geographical locations and cultural boundaries. The Belin Arts Scholarship, as it was later called, would go on to become one of the most coveted awards for artists to obtain in pursuit of their respective vocations.
In October of 1961, a series of meetings between Peter Belin Jr. and the Waverly Community House Board of Trustees took place. These gatherings were held in order to determine how best to honor the late F. Lammot. Due to his love of the fine arts, it was later suggested to offer some sort of monetary award to artists through the Belin family and the Waverly Community House. Shortly thereafter, a special committee was formed to primarily focus on this scholarship and its development.
The very first F. Lammot Belin Memorial Fund Committee meeting included: Mrs. W.L. Chamberlin, Mrs. William M. Dawson, Mr. F.P. Christian, Mr. F.T. Dolbear, Mr. A.D. Hemelright and Mr. C.W. Belin (as indicated on committee letter, 1962).
In 1962, it was officially determined that a definitive scholarship be offered to artists involved in various disciplines to pursue their crafts under the direction of funds provided through the endowment. Thus, the Belin Arts Scholarship was born.
The first description of this award read: “Patron of the arts and artists, collector and creator, his love of beauty will benefit all…now, and in the years to come. The F. Lammot Belin Arts Scholarship has been established to honor the memory of a great man and a loving father, by his son, Peter Belin.”
The early years
Soon after the scholarship was conceptualized, applicants were encouraged to apply for the 1964 cycle. Dr. John Bourne, chairman of the Scholarship Administration, Howard Hyde, chairman of the Selection Committee, and Leigh Woehling, president of the Comm’s Board of Trustees also took their time to search for talented individuals through the region who were urged to apply.
The first winner of the scholarship, Carol Leah Jones, was a pianist from Scranton who planned on continuing her craft with the hopes of eventually becoming a concert pianist.
Jones showed much promise to the committee as she also expressed her desire to continue her education at the Manhattan College of Music upon reception of the award.
After Carol Jones, John Hyer was presented with the award in both the 1965 and 1966 cycles. Hyer was a vocalist and recent graduate of Wilkes College (now University) who later went on to attend the Julliard School of Music to receive his Master’s Degree in vocal pedagogy.
Of the Belin Arts Scholarship, Mr. Hyer exclaims: “I couldn’t have gone to Julliard without it. It opened doors for me in such places as Aspen, Colorado and it made things better in my whole career.”
From Miss Jones’ first win and Hyer’s dual awards, it became clear that this scholarship was fulfilling its intention – it was bettering the lives of recipients and allowing them to grow and evolve in their careers and lives.
The endowment’s first year concluded with 32 total applicants; this number continued to grow exponentially each year as word of the award circulated around amongst those involved in the fine arts discipline.
From 1964, until the present, the Belin Arts Scholarship has continued to grow and evolve to benefit the arts and artists everywhere. Over the years it had funded the arts of: architecture, drama, music, literature, painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture and more.
When Peter Belin passed away in 1982, his son, Harry Lammot Belin, continued his family’s legacy of commitment to promoting the arts. What began as a memorial vision, has become so much more.
As we approach a new developmental period in regards to the scholarship, we look forward to all of the new ways that this gift can continue to touch the lives of talented individuals everywhere.
Testimonies from scholarship recipients
Barbara Harbach (1970), organist:
“The Belin Arts Scholarship allowed me to experience art and culture at a high level that would’ve taken a number of years to achieve without it.”
Robert Reese (1971), painter:
“Without the Belin Arts Scholarship, I could’ve never realized the professional boundaries I have; it was a blessing of huge proportions.”
Roosevelt Newson (1978), pianist:”
The scholarship served as a professional launch pad for me and opened the door to professional management.”
The aforementioned quotes are indicative of simply a few expressions of gratitude for all the Belin Arts Scholarship has provided, both developmentally and professionally. For more than 54 years, this award has gone on to make its mark regionally and nationally with its wide range of possibilities.
In 2016, The Comm entered a new phase of development for the Belin Arts Scholarship with its expansion into the F. Lammot Belin Arts Foundation. The Foundation’s mission is to build community through the arts. Ongoing projects of the Foundation include the Small Works Gallery at the Waverly Community House and the annual Northeast Pennsylvania Film Festival.
Harry Belin passed away in November but his vision and the vision of his forefathers will live on as The F. Lammot Belin Arts Foundation continues its mission to promote art appreciation in the community and to encourage and hearten the human spirit through visual arts. A public celebration of the scholarship, the scholars and the Foundation will take place in October, 2019.
The deadline to apply for this year’s Belin Arts Scholarship is Dec. 15. For more information on the scholarship and how to apply, visit waverlycommarts.org.