Children's singer wins arts award

10/13/2012 12:00 AM

10/14/2012 12:42 PM

Francie Dillon, who has entertained and educated thousands of Northern California children for more than two decades with her stories and songs, has been named arts educator of the year.

The Arts & Business Council of Sacramento presented Dillon with the award at a luncheon Friday afternoon. The other finalists were Milton Bowens, the lead artist in residence in the Twin Rivers Unified School District, and Elaine O'Brien, a California State University, Sacramento, art professor who has promoted art through symposiums, lectures and writing.

Dillon, a longtime entertainer at Land Park's Fairytale Town and other venues, was the subject of a recent Bee story detailing her background and health challenges. She has an undiagnosed illness that limits her mobility, slurs her speech and threatens her career as a singer and storyteller.

A fundraiser to benefit Dillon, who has been forced from her longtime Curtis Park home because of financial challenges linked to her illness, has been scheduled from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Nov. 2 at Fairytale Town.

The Arts & Business Council named Glenn Casale, artistic director of the California Musical Theatre, as its artist of the year. Ron Cunningham and Carinne Binda of the Sacramento Ballet received the group's lifetime achievement award.

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