Governor Ernie Fletcher will honor Kentucky individuals, organizations and businesses for outstanding achievements and contributions in the arts at a public ceremony and reception on Tuesday, February 8, 2005 at 10:00 a.m. EST in the Capitol Rotunda in Frankfort. “This group of recipients exemplifies the ‘Unbridled Spirit’ of Kentucky,” says Governor Fletcher. “We can look to their creative spirit, their spirit of giving, and their untiring spirit in making the arts work for Kentucky. They make us all proud to be Kentuckians.”
Topping the list for celebrity is Ricky Skaggs, who has been tapped to receive the National Award honoring a Kentucky son or daughter achieving national acclaim for artistic achievement. The eight-time Grammy Award winning Country and Bluegrass music star, born in Eastern Kentucky, is often quoted as saying “I just try to make a living playing the music I love.”
The Milner Award, the most prestigious of the Governor’s Awards, will be presented to Louisville philanthropist, entrepreneur and civic leader David A. Jones who is chairman of the board at Humana, Inc. The Milner Award was established in 1977 in honor of the late B. Hudson Milner whose contributions to the arts in Kentucky remain evident to this day. This award recognizes outstanding individual commitment to the arts and their role in the economy, community and culture of Kentucky.
The Artist Award honoring lifetime achievement in the arts will go to the dazzling ballerina Elizabeth Hartwell who joined the Louisville Ballet in 1984. She has performed a lifetime of leading roles with critical accolades, has been an active teacher at the Governor’s School for the Arts and the Louisville Ballet School and has worked tirelessly on behalf of the Louisville Ballet.
Julius Friedman, graphic designer and co-owner of Chapman-Friedman Gallery in Louisville will receive the Business Award for his outstanding support of the arts. Friedman has greatly extended the influence of the arts in Kentucky through his graphic design and marketing contributions to local arts organizations and the opportunities he has created for artists and collectors alike through the gallery.
The Community Arts Award (Organization) recognizes the Singletary Center for the Arts, located on the University of Kentucky campus, for making a substantial positive impact in the community through the arts. Since opening in 1979, the Singletary Center has served the greater Lexington community by hosting more than 8,870 events. Under the leadership of Executive Director Holly Salisbury, the Center has presented renowned classical music performances, commissioned new works in music and visual arts, sponsored numerous artist residencies and developed creative outreach programs to extend artistic offerings well beyond the campus to the area’s diverse populations.
Known locally, nationally and internationally as a storyteller and ‘keeper of the African Oral Tradition,’ Nana Yaa Asantewaa will receive the Community Arts Award (Individual) for her extraordinary efforts on behalf of the Louisville Arts Council, Inc. As the founding director, Asantewaa’s vision has led the Louisville Arts Council to work that includes assisting community arts and artists, fostering multi-cultural diversity and advocating for community-based growth and economic development through the arts.
Covington’s Carnegie Visual & Performing Arts Center has been recognized for the Education Award, which honors their significant contributions to the arts in education. Offering programs that bring arts and cultural experiences to people who have been typically underserved, the Carnegie offers multi-disciplinary education programs to pre-schoolers, at-risk youth and families through extensive partnerships with the James E. Biggs Early Childhood Education Center, the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Covington Public Schools and numerous other community agencies and organizations.
The Folk Heritage Award recognizes an individual who has made an outstanding effort to perpetuate and promote Kentucky’s unique artistic traditions. John Harrod, a Frankfort teacher and fiddler will be honored with this award for keeping the old Kentucky fiddle styles and repertoire alive through his field recordings, collections and archives, performances, writings, advocacy and media appearances.
The Hindman/Knott County Community Development Initiative will receive the Government Award to acknowledge significant support for the arts through government action. This national award winning local initiative has successfully secured funding from the state and other sources for an array of community development projects, based on a strategic plan to diversify the region’s economy based on education, arts and heritage. Components of the initiative include the construction of a new City Hall and Welcome Center (built by stone masons in the local tradition), the establishment of the Kentucky Appalachian Artisan Center, and the renovation of an abandoned school building to become the Kentucky School of Craft, which officially opened in 2004.
The Media Award pays tribute to an organization or journalist that has shown a notable commitment to bringing the arts to the attention of the public. Ashland’s WTCR Radio wins this award for serving its community with extraordinary generosity. One of the top-rated and most listened to country music stations in eastern Kentucky, WTCR has provided ongoing corporate sponsorship to the Paramount Arts Center, underwrites the Kentucky Music Trail and donates management and staff time and many thousands of dollars in air time to support arts events in the area. Owned by Clear Channel Communications, WTCR and station manager Judy Jennings prove that a nationally owned, but locally operated business can be a mainstay of a community’s culture and integral to creating a thriving arts environment.
The Kentucky Arts Council administers the Governor's Awards in the Arts selection process. Nominations are annually solicited from the public, reviewed by a selection committee, and presented to the Governor for final approval.
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The Kentucky Arts Council is a state agency in the Commerce Cabinet. Working in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the Arts Council invests in programs that develop vibrant communities, provide lifelong education in the arts and support arts participation. Every $1 in grant funds awarded by the Kentucky Arts Council helps grantees secure $15 in earned income and matching funds from individuals, philanthropic sources and other levels of government.