RiverArts Statement on People’s Choice Award at Reclaimed Runway Event


The popular RiverArts event “Reclaimed Runway”, held on March 24, included a Best in Show award, which was determined by a panel of independent judges. There was also a People’s Choice Award, awarded to the contestant gathering the most votes from attendees and patrons.

On Friday, April 6th, the RiverArts Board of Directors received a complaint alleging that a member of the RiverArts staff knowingly ignored the official tally for the People’s Choice Award, and named the #2 vote recipient, the Kent School, the winner (with 183 votes), instead of Mike Pugh (with 210 votes). In response, the RiverArts Executive Committee convened an emergency meeting held over the weekend and determined that the allegation was true. Our Executive Director explained that her decision was based on concern over the perception that the award being given to a “RiverArts employee may have caused disgruntlement in the community”. She also stated, “I am deeply sorry for any harm I may have caused either Mike Pugh, the Kent School, RiverArts members or the Community by my decision”.

The winner of The People’s Choice Award for the 2018 Reclaimed Runway is Mr. Mike Pugh.Everyone who attended the event will instantly recall his creative use of carpet as a garment, and his larger-than-life wizards hat. Many also know him for his dedication to the RiverArts Clay Studio. Congratulations, Mike!

The RiverArts organization enjoys a very close relationship with the community and we sincerely apologize to our neighbors, members and friends, and to everyone who participated and voted in the People’s Choice Award. We congratulate the winners, Mike Pugh and the 2nd Place Winner, the Kent School, and all the fabulous designers for their very creative costumes.

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