Jay Rainey and his late wife, Jeannette, were honored with the 2013 Westendorf Award on March 29 for outstanding contributions to the cultural heritage of Bartlett.
As longtime residents of Bartlett, the Raineys lived for 40 years in Cedar Hall and were responsible for adding the grand home to the National Register of Historic Places. The couple earned a reputation throughout the city for leading numerous cultural projects in Bartlett.
Jay Rainey joined Bartlett as the city’s chief administrator, first under former mayor Ken Fulmer and then under current mayor Keith McDonald. In the 10 and one-half years that Rainey worked for this city, many projects grew out of his guidance, including the Bartlett Performing Arts And Conference Center itself.
Well known for her love of nature and its beauty, Jeanette Rainey was the driving force behind the creation of Bartlett City Beautiful and the Bartlett Historical Society, and she also served on the Arts Council. While she passed away in October 2012, her legacy is still evident in the city’s lawns and public spaces.
With the awarding of the Westendorf, The Bartlett Performing Arts And Conference Center honored The Raineys for their care and commitment to the city.
Named for one of the early Bartlett’s distinguished citizens, the “Westy” pays tribute to Thomas Westendorf, superintendent of the Bartlett Training and Industrial School for 1907-1916. Westendorf, along with his wife Kathleen, educated and entertained wayward juveniles from the streets of Memphis and encouraged them to find positive expression and meaning through artistic discipline. They provided the youths with musical training, organized performances of light opera, and even created a concert band for the community’s enjoyment.
Himself an accomplished singer and violinist, Westendorf is also known for having composed the music and lyrics of a popular song of the day, “I’ll Take You Home Again, Kathleen.”
Nominees for the Westendorf are judged based on their contributions to and positive impact on the arts in Bartlett; however, nominees need not necessarily reside within the Bartlett city limits.
Nominations must be submitted to Ron Jewell, BPACC director, in person, by mail or online. To receive a blank copy of the nomination form, send an email request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previous winners of the Thomas P. Westendorf Award include:
- Ronnie Randall, Kele & Associates (2001), cultural arts patron
- David Skelton (2002), community advocate for the arts
- Ron Jewell (2003), arts administrator
- Metra Reid (2004), performing arts educator
- Bartlett United Methodist Church (2005), pipe organ restoration
- Will and Laura Beth Mays/ Lucy Opry (2006)
- Bartlett Community Concert Band (2007)
- David Chipman and Dr. Carol Chipman (2009), outstanding music teachers
- Dr. Tim Hacker (2011), artist
- Otis Smith (2012), choreographer