February 8, 2005 was grand day for the arts in Kentucky as Governor Ernie Fletcher honored recipients of the Governor’s Awards in the Arts. Most notable was Kentucky native son and nationally famous bluegrass musician Ricky Skaggs who received the National Award. Later at a private luncheon with Governor and Mrs. Fletcher, fellow recipients and their guests, Skaggs brought the room to near tears as he paid tribute to his great mentor, father figure, dear friend and Kentucky’s most revered bluegrass legend, Bill Monroe.
Owenton fiddler, John Harrod who received the Folk Heritage Award drew the biggest fan base at the ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda. Unbeknownst to the Frankfort High School teacher, his principal had made arrangements for the whole student body to go to the Capitol to watch their teacher be honored by Governor Fletcher.
Elizabeth Hartwell spoke eloquently about how her parents had filled her childhood with art, her gratefulness for the experiences and how they shaped her life. Louisville Ballet ballerina, Hartwell received the Artist Award for lifetime achievement in the arts and will be retiring in the near future.
The universally loved Nana Yaa Assantewa graced the luncheon guests with a traditional African story that tells of how everyone has to pull together to reap the benefits of the harvest. The story was so appropriate for the recipient of the Community Arts Award for an individual.
The Community Arts Award for an organization went to The Singletary Center for the Arts on the University of Kentucky campus in Lexington, which is currently celebrating its 25th anniversary. Retiring director Holly Salisbury was on hand to receive the award along with Gloria Singletary, widow of the late Dr. Otis A. Singletary, whom the Center is named for. Gloria Singletary has been a lifetime supporter of the arts in Kentucky in her own right.
David A. Jones, Chairman of Humana, Inc. received the Milner Award, the most prestigious of all the Governor’s Awards in the Arts for outstanding contributions to the arts in Kentucky. Jones was very humble for a man that has been instrumental in funding millions of dollars to the arts in Kentucky through personal philanthropy and corporate giving plans.
Mike Mullins represented the Hindman/Knott County Community Development Initiative, the recipients of the Government Award. Mullins shared the community’s success story, based on strategic planning with the arts at the core of community development. He praised the wisdom of local, state and federal funding entities in recognizing that arts can drive economic development if it is at the core of the planning and authentic to its citizens.
Judy Jennings, Vice President for Marketing of WTCR Radio in Ashland, winner of the Media Award spoke of her childhood experiences and her first exposure to the arts. Living in her grandmother’s house with no running water was a world away from the first time she went to Paramount Theatre in Ashland as a young child. It opened her eyes to fantasy and the possibility of dreams. Under her management, she has led country music station WTCR to a position that supports all of the arts in the greater Ashland communities.
Nancy Chadwick accepted the Education Award for the Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center in Covington. The new director was quick to point out that Covington and the Center owed a great deal to the organization’s Chair and generous donor Otto M. Budig, Jr., who has personally ensured that the Carnegie’s renovation will provide the needed space for the educational programs that the community depends upon.
Graphic designer and co-owner of Louisville’s Chapman-Friedman gallery, Julius Friedman was the recipient of the Business Award. He made clear the intersection between business and the arts and the role that arts businesses can have in education.
The Governor’s Awards in the Arts are the Commonwealth’s most prestigious arts awards honoring Kentucky individuals, businesses and organizations that make significant outstanding contributions to the arts in the state. Governor’s Awards in the Arts recipients exemplify the range and diversity of accomplishments in all areas of the arts, and the irreplaceable value of those contributions to the state’s communities, educational environment and economy. 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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EDITORS NOTE: Downloadable photos are available at http://www.artscouncil.ky.gov/04govaward/recips.htm
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.