FRANKFORT, Ky. — Continuing the tradition of recognizing Kentuckians, businesses and arts organizations for outstanding contribution, achievement in and support of the arts, the Kentucky Arts Council today announced the 2012 Governor’s Awards in the Arts.
“Congratulations to this year’s recipients, who represent the best of Kentucky’s artistic community,” said Gov. Steve Beshear. “I am honored to acknowledge and celebrate their many contributions to our state’s artistic livelihood through the Governor’s Awards in the Arts.”
The recipients will be recognized at a public ceremony and celebration on Oct. 9, 2012, in the Capitol Rotunda, Frankfort.
The Governor’s Awards in the Arts are presented in nine different categories. Award recipients and descriptions of each follow.
Milner Award – William Francis, Prestonsburg: The Milner Award is the most prestigious arts award given by the Governor. It was established by the Kentucky Arts Council in 1978 and named in honor of the late B. Hudson Milner. This year’s recipient, William Francis, is a philanthropist and ardent supporter of the arts in Kentucky for many years. An advocate for arts and education across the state, he has served as a board member for several cultural and arts organizations, including Jenny Wiley Theatre, Southern Arts Federation, Kentucky Arts Council, Kentucky Humanities Council and National Assembly of State Arts Agencies.
National Award – Bobbie Ann Mason, Lawrenceburg: Kentucky author Bobbie Ann Mason has given voice to the personal stories, lives and issues facing generations of Kentuckians for nearly four decades through her published works of fiction and non-fiction. Ms. Mason established herself as a bright and bold voice of the American literary scene with the publication of her first short story collection in 1982, “Shiloh and Other Stories.”
Artist Award – Gray Zeitz, Owenton: This award recognizes a lifetime of achievement by an artist who works in any discipline and resides in Kentucky. Gray Zeitz is the founder of Larkspur Press, producing dozens of fine, letterpress editions, mostly of Kentucky poets, for nearly 40 years. The business is regarded by many as being among the finest small press printers and designers of books in Kentucky, the region and across the country.
Business Award – UK HealthCare Arts in HealthCare Program, Lexington: Honoring a Kentucky business for outstanding support of the arts, this year’s recipient was chosen for its Arts in HealthCare Program. The UK HealthCare Arts in HealthCare Program includes art in all forms – from the whimsy of folk art, to the textural richness of glass, wood and ceramics, to the soul-moving sounds of a musician or vocalist, to the stillness of a dancer in repose. Aside from internationally commissioned pieces in key public locations, the core collection features artists with a Kentucky connection, many who have achieved national and international reputations.
Community Arts Award – Latitude Artist Community, Lexington: This award honors a Kentucky individual or organization that has made a positive impact on the community through the arts. Latitude Artist Community serves all people with an emphasis on people with a disability. Since 2001, Latitude has designed innovative supports which encourage artists with a disability to succeed and contribute to their community. By design, Latitude develops some of the most innovative, elegant and daring social and creative supports of any program of its type in the country.
Education Award – Christina Hartke Towell, Morehead: Given for significant contributions to the arts in education, the award goes to a Kentucky individual, school, school district or organization. Christina Hartke Towell is the teacher, director and founder of the Lucille Caudill Little String Program for Rowan County Schools. The program instills awareness and appreciation of music performance for the next generation of string performers. Since its beginning in 2006, the program has grown to provide instruction and participation to 136 students, including students with hearing and physical disabilities. It also includes students in middle school and high school.
Folk Heritage Award – Leona Waddell, Cecilia: This award is given to an individual or organization for outstanding effort to perpetuate and promote Kentucky’s unique artistic heritage. White oak basket making is a central part of the traditional material culture of Kentucky, and Leona Waddell truly embodies the best of this unique Kentucky tradition. A former master in the Kentucky Folklife Program’s Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program, Waddell has dedicated her life to conserving and perfecting the south central Kentucky white oak basket making tradition, which has important economic and social history, and is a source of pride in the region.
Government Award – U. S. Rep. John Yarmuth, Louisville: This award is given for significant support for the arts through government action to a government entity or leader. U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth represents Kentucky’s 3rd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives and is a staunch supporter of the arts. Congressman Yarmuth has set himself apart from other governmental arts supporters by donating his entire congressional salary to numerous nonprofit and charitable organizations, many with an arts focus, like the Governor’s School for the Arts, Louisville’s Fund for the Arts and the Kentucky School of Art.
The Media Award – Jeffrey Lee Puckett, Louisville: This award honors a Kentucky journalist or media organization with an outstanding commitment to bringing the arts to the attention of the public. Jeffrey Lee Puckett of The Courier-Journal is widely considered Louisville’s music authority. Writing about music since he was 16, Puckett keeps Louisvillians informed and up-to-date on the area’s music scene and provides perspective on the national music scene to readers of the paper and his blog, Tune in Louisville. His knowledge of music and his exceptional writing ability have made him an invaluable asset to his community.
Nominations for the Governor’s Awards in the Arts are accepted annually from the public. The deadline to make a nomination for the 2013 awards is Nov. 1, 2012. The Kentucky Arts Council coordinates the nomination and selection process for recommendation to the governor.
The Kentucky Arts Council, the state arts agency, creates opportunities for Kentuckians to value, participate in and benefit from the arts. Kentucky Arts Council funding is provided by the Kentucky General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts.
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