Alex Coon Will Be the Massillon Community Candlelight Walk Honoree
The community will honor Alexandra Nicholis Coon at the Festival of Music and Candlelighting Ceremony at St. Mary’s Church on Sunday, December 4, following the Community Candelight Walk. The event, which is free and open to everyone, includes music provided by the Washington High School combined choirs; Franklin School’s Sixteenth Street Singers; and the combined choirs of St. Mary’s, St. Joseph’s, and St. Barbara’s Roman Catholic Churches.
Each year, the honorary community candlelighter is selected from nominations submitted by the public for outstanding contributions to Massillon’s quality of life.
About the Honoree
Alex Coon, Massillon’s 37th honoree, has been with the Massillon Museum since 2001. She became executive director in 2010. She holds a BA in art history from Kent State University, an MA in art history through the joint program at the Cleveland Museum of Art and Case Western Reserve University, and a collections care certificate from the Campbell Center for Historic Preservations Studies.
She has led the Massillon Museum through its capital campaign and the expansion project that nearly doubled the size of the facility. Under her direction, the Museum retains its prestigious American Alliance of Museum accreditation, is a leader in the Ohio museums arena, and serves as an economic engine in downtown Massillon.
Her sense of collaboration is a guiding light in the community. She has forged cooperative efforts with the City of Massillon; Massillon Tiger Football Booster Club; Boys and Girls Club of Massillon; Massillon Public Library; The Links, Incorporated; United Way; Sisterhood of Jewels Community Connections; Canton Symphony Orchestra; ArtsinStark; and many more.
Under Alex’s leadership, the Museum offers diverse programming for all ages. It works closely with area schools including the Artful Living and Learning program that serves hundreds of area pre-school children. Her vision has helped create Museum exhibitions that are recognized nationally. MassMu continues to receive the prestigious Big Read grant (17 consecutive years) from the National Endowment for the Arts. Her grant-writing skills have drawn tens of thousands of dollars to our community.
“Alex’s community spirit and positive attitude are contagious. She makes everyone feel welcome at the Museum and she is an unabashed cheerleader for downtown businesses and the community as a whole. She is a leader in diversity and accessibility initiatives,” said one of several who nominated Coon to be the honoree.
She serves on Massillon’s CIC, the Aultman Health Foundation board, and Massillon WestStark Chamber Foundation. She currently chairs the Visit Canton board of directors and is the former chairman of the Ohio Museums Association board of trustees.
Others have recognized her accomplishments. Most notably, she has been awarded “Twenty Under 40,” the Massillon WestStark Chamber “Excellence in Leadership” award, and the DeHoff Emerging Philanthropist Award by United Way of Greater Stark County.
About the Walk
Free and open to everyone, the Community Candlelight Walk is a self-guided stroll through downtown Massillon among luminarias and Christmas lights to visit nine historic churches and four community attractions. Guests may pick up a flyer wherever they start. They can choose their own route and set their own pace. The flyer includes a map of the event.
St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church, St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church, St. George Greek Orthodox Church, St. John’s United Church of Christ, Central Presbyterian Church, Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, First United Methodist Church, and St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church will present nearly continuous music from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m. Some churches will intersperse their music with church tours or storytelling. Many will be decorated for Christmas and offer refreshments.
The Massillon Museum’s Gessner Hall, the official refreshment and warming station, will offer complimentary cookies, coffee, tea, and cocoa. Stark Sings Vox Audio will perform.
Library staff members and friends will carol on the steps of the impressive Massillon Pubic Library building. Massillon Railroad Club, located in the lower level of the First United Methodist Church, will have O-gauge trains running.
The CHARM neighborhood association will light 900 luminaries along Historic Fourth Street past the Five Oaks mansion, where Massillon Heritage Foundation and Massillon Woman’s Club members will offer refreshments and live music amidst the mansion’s stunning architecture and lush holiday decorations.
Additional Church Collaborators
Prior to the Community Candlelight Walk (4:00 to 5:00 p.m.), Grace United Church of Christ will present music by the New Horizons, the Tuslaw show choir. From 5:00 to 7:30 Massillon Community Connections Church will perform the puppet play, “Not Just Any Story.”
This year’s sponsors include Aqua Ohio, Visit Canton, Massillon Eagles #190, Paquelet Funeral Home, Paradigm Shift Craft Brewery, Farmers National Bank, G&D Fabricating and Welding, CHARM, and Massillon WestStark Chamber of Commerce.
To learn more about the event, call Margy Vogt, chairman, at 330-844-1525 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.