City of Lincoln
2015 Media Releases
- March 19, 2015
- For More Information Contact:
- Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 402-441-7831
- Deb Weber, Lincoln Arts Council, 402-434-2787
Winners Announced for Mayor's Arts Awards
Mayor Chris Beutler and the Lincoln Arts Council (LAC) have announced the winners of the 2015 Mayor's Arts Awards, which will be presented the evening of Wednesday, June 10 at the Lied Center for Performing Arts. The awards formally recognize artistic contributions and achievements in the Lincoln area. Invitations will be sent in April, and more information is available at artscene.org.
- The Mayor's Choice Award will be presented to educator, actress and director Virginia Smith, who recently retired as Artistic Director of the Nebraska Repertory Theatre. The award is sponsored by Cline, Williams, Wright, Johnson and Oldfather, LLP.
- The Richard Hay Arts Organization Award will be presented to Lincoln Midwest Ballet, which recently presented its 30th production of "The Nutcracker." The award recognizes an arts group that has made significant contributions to Lincoln's arts community over a period of years. It is sponsored by Robert Hillestad in memory of the late Dr. Richard Hay.
- The Outstanding Event Award will be presented to the Penguin Project of the Lincoln Community Playhouse, which provided children with disabilities an opportunity to participate in the performing arts. The award recognizes a performance, exhibition or project in the previous year that will be notable in the community memory for years to come because of its content or cultural significance. It is sponsored by Black Hills Energy.
- The Artistic Achievement Award - Visual Arts will be presented to painter Wendy Jane Bantam, who creates and implements public art projects locally and internationally. The award recognizes excellence and accomplishment in any of the visual arts, including theatre and film. It is sponsored by Jerry and Annette Hall.
- The Artistic Achievement Award - Performing Arts will be presented to dancer, teacher and choreographer Courtney Piccoli. The award recognizes excellence and accomplishment in any of the performing arts, including film. It is sponsored by Farmers Mutual Insurance Company of Nebraska.
- The Artistic Achievement Award - Literary Arts will be presented UNL English Professor, author, Shakespeare scholar and dramaturg Stephen Buhler. The award recognizes excellence and accomplishment in writing and literature. It is sponsored by Woods Brothers Realty.
- The Artistic Achievement Award - Youth will be presented to Rachele Merliss, a Lincoln High School student, writer, director and actress who is active in the Nebraska Girls Shakespeare Company and the Illusion Theatre. The award recognizes excellence and accomplishment in any arts discipline by a young person age 18 or younger. It is sponsored by Joseph and Judith Ruffo.
- The Gladys Lux Education Award will be presented to Nancy Engen-Wedin, who directs the Lied Center's arts in schools programs. The award recognizes special initiatives in or dedication to arts education and is endowed by the Gladys Lux Foundation.
- The Heart of the Arts Award will be presented to art supporter Carol Rustad, for her work on local arts events and programs and her service on arts organization boards. The award recognizes an individual or organization for outstanding volunteer dedication to the arts or for making a major overall impact on the arts in Lincoln. It is sponsored by Runza® Restaurants.
- The Benefactor of the Arts Award will be presented to the late Mary Riepma Ross, whose financial contributions created and support the Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center. The award recognizes an individual, family, organization or business for making significant financial contributions to the arts. It is sponsored by Pinnacle Bank.
- The Legacy of the Arts Award will be presented to teacher, writer, jazz singer and actress Annette Murrell. The award recognizes a senior (age 55 and up) actively involved in creating, teaching, sharing or inspiring artistic expression in any discipline. The award is sponsored by Legacy Retirement Communities.
- The Lincoln Community Foundation Arts for Kids Award will be presented to Mourning Hope, which incorporates art projects into all its grief counseling programs for children. The award recognizes an individual or organization from outside of the arts professions whose leadership has enhanced arts activities and experiences for children. It is sponsored by the Lincoln Community Foundation.
- The ArtScene Backstage Award will be presented to Richard Imig, who designs and creates sets and props for many area theaters. The award recognizes extraordinary service to the arts through behind-the-scenes efforts and is sponsored by the Ghost Light Society, a new group of local arts supporters.
- The City Urban Design Committee has selected Pinnacle Bank Arena and Associated West Haymarket Development for the Enersen Urban Design Award, which is sponsored by Clark Enersen Partners.
- The Kimmel Foundation Emerging Artist Awards will be presented to Lincoln High teacher and playwright Chris Maly and visual artist Sarah Berkeley. The awards include $1,000 stipends and residencies at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts. The awards are sponsored by the Richard P. Kimmel and Laurine Kimmel Charitable Foundation.
The awards being presented to this year's winners are encaustic mixed media collages created by Lincoln artist Janet Eskridge.
The Mayor's Arts Awards event is co-sponsored by Premier Catering. Video Sponsors are Liberty First Credit Union, CHI Health - St. Elizabeth Regional Medical Center and Steve Wake. Main Stage Sponsors are A to Z Printing, Husker Auto Group, Nebraska Heart Hospital and U.S. Properties and the Grand Manse. St. Thomas Aquinas Church/Newman Center is a Team Sponsor, and Project Supporters are Cornhusker Bank, Wayne Boles, Lincoln Industries and Ann Rawley. Banner Sponsors are Peace Studio Architects and Union Agency.
The public is encouraged to submit names and photos of members of the Lincoln arts community who have died since the last awards ceremony in June 2014 for memorial recognition at the awards event. Information can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.