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2018 Media Releases

March 8, 2018
For More Information Contact:
Lori McAlister, Lincoln Arts Council, 402-434-2787

Winners Announced for Mayor's Arts Awards

Event will celebrate 50th anniversary of Lincoln Arts Council

Mayor Chris Beutler and the Lincoln Arts Council (LAC) have announced the winners of the 2018 Mayor's Arts Awards to be presented Tuesday, May 1 at Pinnacle Bank Arena. To recognize the 50th anniversary of the LAC, the theme for this year's event is "We Are Golden Together."

The 40th annual event, which is open to the public, begins with a reception at 5:30 p.m. and includes a dinner, awards presentation and winners' reception. Reservation information is available at The event sponsor is Farmers Mutual of Nebraska, and the Honorary Chair is Jack Saltzman, who is coordinating this year's decorations.

The event will include a performance by professional jazz vocal artist and teacher Jackie Allen, winner of the Artistic Achievement Award - Performing Arts, sponsored by Avery Woods. Allen has recorded with Grammy-award winning artists and has composed and produced her own original music.

Ted Kooser, the 13th Poet Laureate of the U.S., dedicated an unpublished poem for this year's award. It will be printed by Denise Brady and framed by David Clark. Returning as emcee is DeWayne Taylor, a teaching artist, beat boxer and KFRX radio host.

This year's honorees also include:

Outstanding Arts Organization: Ann Burkholder is the designer, developer and owner of the Burkholder Project, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in November. The Historic Haymarket building houses galleries and artists' studios. Sponsor: Downtown Lincoln Association

Artistic Achievement Award - Visual Arts: Internationally recognized doll artist Shelley Thornton is a member of the prestigious National Institute of American Doll Artists, and her work has been widely exhibited in the U.S. and six other countries. Sponsor: Joe and Judye Ruffo

Artistic Achievement Award - Youth: Lincoln High Senior Mackenzie Davenport is an entrepreneur, director and performer who established the Silicon Prairie Theatre Company, a youth-led nonprofit. Sponsor: Annette and Jerry Hall

Artistic Achievement Award - Literary Arts: Lincoln Journal Star reporter L. Kent Wolgamott has covered music, movies and the visual arts since 1985. Sponsor: Commercial Investment Properties

Gladys Lux Education Award: Concert pianist and teacher Dr. Feifei Jiang started the JF International Music Academy in 2015 to offer music lessons and performance opportunities for students of all ages. Endowed by the Gladys Lux Foundation

The Legacy of the Arts Award: Visual artist and teacher Julia Noyes owns the Noyes Art Gallery, which celebrated its 25th anniversary last year. She also organizes the annual Art in the Park event to benefit the City Parks and Recreation Department. Sponsor: Legacy Retirement Communities

Heart of the Arts Award: Visual artist Peggy Gomez owns Gomez Art Supply, operates the nonprofit Tugboat Gallery and organizes the annual Lincoln Bike Art Tour. Sponsor: Runza® National

The ArtScene Backstage Award: Eileen Brewster recently retired after serving as the Lied Center's Ticket Office Manager for 30 years. Sponsor: Chris and Kelley Baker

Outstanding Event Award: The Nebraska by Heart public art project was an official event of the Nebraska 150 Celebration, and the auction of 89 heart sculptures benefitted two nonprofits — Lead Up and the Sadie Dog Fund. Sponsor: Kathy and Marc LeBaron

Benefactor of the Arts Award: Lincoln native Don Campbell was the benefactor of the new Chief Standing Bear memorial sculpture by Ben Victor, which was installed last year on Nebraska's Centennial Mall. Sponsor: Pinnacle Bank

Lincoln Community Foundation Arts for Kids Award: The Lincoln Children's Museum is being recognized for incorporating the arts into all aspects of its programming. Sponsor: Lincoln Community Foundation.

Mayor's Choice Award: Visual artist Francisco Souto has taught at UNL since 2004 and was recently named Director of the School of Art, Art History and Design. His work has been honored with more than 45 national and international awards and grants. Sponsor: Cline, Williams, Wright, Johnson & Oldfather LLP

Enersen Urban Design Award: The Urban Design Committee selected the Capitol Environs Committee for the renovation of Nebraska's Centennial Mall. Other key project partners who will be recognized are the Lincoln Parks Foundation, the Lincoln Parks and Recreation Department and The Clark Enersen Partners. Sponsor: The Clark Enersen Partners

The event will also honor the recipients of the Kimmel Foundation Emerging Artist Awards — visual artist Hannah Demma and writer Ivan Young. Each award includes a $1,000 stipend and a two-week residency at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts. The awards are sponsored by the Richard P. Kimmel and Laurine Kimmel Charitable Foundation.

Tickets are $75 and are available from the LAC at 402-434-2787 or Corporate tables and sponsorship opportunities are also available. The Winners' Reception after the program will be on the Arena outdoor Capitol Terrace and will be $5 in advance and $10 at the door. Members of the public do not need to attend the ceremony to attend the reception, which is sponsored by Union Bank & Trust.

Other sponsors of the event are Ameritas; Husker Mercedes-Benz; K & Z Distributing Company, Inc.; Mapes Industries, Inc.; Roper Bennett Team — Merrill Lynch; Talent Plus; U.S. Property & Grand Manse; Steve Wake; Ann Rawley; BVH Architecture; Len Sloup and Sue Quambusch; Lincoln First Realty; and the Lincoln Marriott Cornhusker Hotel.

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 2017 for memorial recognition at the awards event. Information may be sent to

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