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Business Beat: Preservation Society of Newport County presents its Laurel Awards

The Preservation Society of Newport County has honored two individuals and one business with its annual Laurel Awards, which recognize special contributions to the organization in the fields of horticulture, artisanship and volunteerism.

The awards were presented on Thursday, June 9, during the Preservation Society’s Annual Meeting at Rosecliff.

“Over the years, the Laurel Award winners have represented the very best that our volunteers and business partners achieve on behalf of the Preservation Society,” said William F. Lucey III, chairman of the Preservation Society Board of Trustees. “This year’s recipients live up to these high standards and we are glad to have the opportunity to show our appreciation.”

The Laurel Award for Horticulture goes to Jane Fontaine, who has worked in the Newport Mansions gardens as a volunteer since 2015. Fontaine has made it her mission to keep the front garden at Rosecliff looking its best, but she also showed her dedication as well as her horticultural skills by keeping the Rose Garden maintained even while Rosecliff was closed during the COVID pandemic.

The Laurel Award for Volunteerism is given to Robert Faraone, a master stone wall builder who trains and leads teams of volunteers to restore historic stone walls on Aquidneck Island. Through the Aquidneck Stone Wall Initiative – a collaboration of the Preservation Society and Preserve Rhode Island – Faraone’s mentorship and expertise help ensure these essential features of the New England landscape will stand for generations to come. 

Meridian Printing of East Greenwich, R.I., receives the Laurel Award for Artisanship in honor of the skill and craftsmanship that go into its printed products. For more than 50 years, Meridian has produced millions of brochures and hundreds of thousands of booklets, catalogs, reports and other publications for the Preservation Society. Its high-quality work reinforces the image the Preservation Society enjoys as a world-class organization.

The Preservation Society of Newport County, Rhode Island, is a nonprofit organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. It is dedicated to preserving and interpreting the area’s historic architecture, landscapes, decorative arts and social history. Its 11 historic properties – seven of them National Historic Landmarks – span more than 250 years of American architectural and social development. For more information, please visit

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