Visual artist Jeff Koons sat next to Chad Taylor, Patrick Dahlheimer and Chad Gracey of Live. Playwright Dorothy King was across the aisle.
The five artists listened to Mayor Kim Bracey talk about the struggles and successes of the city that shaped them. Then, they were each honored for their past, present and possible future contributions to York and the world beyond.
Chad Taylor, of the multi-platinum band Live, said he grew up idolizing a blue-eyed soul band with York members -- The Magnificent Men. When he formed Live with Dahlheimer and Gracey, they practiced in a Newberry Street garage, to the chagrin of some of their neighbors.
"I like the people of York," Taylor said. "They were me, only harder working. We took (their) stories and turned them into songs."
Taylor, Dahlheimer and Gracey recently announced Think Loud, a development project in York, and introduced Live's new lead singer, Chris Shinn at the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center in York.
Taylor said he was inspired by the mayor's speech and was glad to meet Koons.
"The arts are a form of communication," Taylor said. "What's important to us is to write more songs."
King, a playwright and educator, grew up on Princess Street "in a community where it was important to do a good job." She said that even though she now lives in Harrisburg, she still tell people she's from York. She even wrote a play -- "White Rose, Black Skin, York in the 19th Century" -- about her hometown.
"Don't rule York out," she said. "York will shine again."
On Thursday, Koons, whose visual art has been shown in galleries around the globe, remembered eating oysters at Central Market as a child. He spends time in New York City, but owns land in southern York County.
He recently brought his children to see The Moscow Festival Ballet perform "Cinderella" at the Strand.
"I tend to look at older structures with remembrance," he said.
After listening to the mayor's address, hearing about Think Loud and chatting with York philanthropist Louis Appell, Koons said he hoped to contribute to York's revitalization.
"It feels like a corner's being turned," he said. "(It) shows what individuals can do in your community."
Read more about York Award recipients: www.flipsidepa.com/ci_20289928
Read about a previous Jeff Koons visit to York: www.flipsidepa.com/live
Check out FlipSide's Live page: http://www.flipsidepa.com/ci_18918272