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Contact(s):Scott Carter

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


Governor’s Arts Awards Recipients Announced

LITTLE ROCK, AR – The Arkansas Arts Council’s Executive Director, Joy Pennington, has announced the recipients of the 2006 Governor’s Arts Awards. The Governor’s Arts Awards recognize outstanding contributions to the arts in Arkansas. Governor Mike Huckabee will present the awards at a luncheon at the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion, October 4, 2006. Each recipient will receive a work of art created by Beverly Norton Walker of Fayetteville.

The following recipients will be honored on October 4, 2006:

Mayor Jim Dailey - Little Rock
Nominator: Scott Whiteley Carter, Little Rock

During his years of public service, Little Rock Mayor Jim Dailey has been a dedicated supporter of the arts. Mayor Dailey’s understanding of the importance of the arts has been essential to the revitalization of downtown Little Rock and the development of the River Market district. Little Rock’s arts district has become home to several art galleries and the 2nd Friday Night Art Walk and provides venues for local and regional musicians. Other examples of Mayor Dailey’s leadership in the arts include the City of Little Rock’s support of the expansion and renovation of the Arkansas Arts Center and support of the establishment of the Kramer School Artists Cooperative, which provides residential and studio space for artists. The City of Little Rock has doubled the number of art institutions it helps fund under Mayor Dailey’s tenure and has developed an Arts & Culture Commission to continue to integrate the arts into the daily fabric of city life. Mayor Jim Dailey has demonstrated outstanding leadership and commitment to the development of the arts community in Little Rock. 

Brenda Turner - Little Rock
Nominator: Cathy Porter, Little Rock

Brenda Turner has provided guidance and leadership to arts educators, artists and students in Arkansas for almost four decades. As Art Specialist for the Arkansas Department of Education, Ms. Turner was recognized by the National Art Education Association as “Outstanding Art Educator.” Brenda Turner oversees the arts education of the 452,000 public school students in Arkansas. She has worked with numerous committees to develop instructional publications and curriculum guides for Arkansas’s educators. Through her efforts, Arkansas has received grants from the U.S. Department of Education, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Crayola, which have benefited students and teachers statewide. Brenda Turner has dedicated her professional career to the growth, advancement and quality of arts education in Arkansas.

Lennox Industries - Stuttgart
Nominator: Charles Law, Arts Center of the Grand Prairie, Stuttgart

Since 2002, Lennox Industries has brought individual musicians and ensembles to the community of Stuttgart by funding six concerts annually through the Lennox Industries Performing Arts Series. The culturally enriching series has included a professional steel drum band, a classical guitarist, a brass quintet, a jazz trio, and a bass and harp ensemble. The support provided by Lennox Industries funds artist fees, as well as subsidizes the cost of tickets, so that school children can attend the performances at no cost. Educational partnerships with the local schools and local two year college have benefited from this concert series through free admission and in-house demonstrations and classes. 

Bryan W. Massey, Sr. - Conway
Nominator: Roger Bowman, Conway

Bryan Massey is a gifted sculptor whose work has been exhibited in numerous solo, competitive and invitational exhibitions, and outdoor installations. In his 27 year career as a sculptor, Massey has received many honors and awards, including a commission by the Central Arkansas Library System to create a cast bronze sculpture of former Arkansas governor Sidney S. McMath. Massey has also guided and inspired students for 18 years as a professor of art at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway. He has demonstrated an impressive dedication to his career as an artist and his contributions to UCA and the arts community.

Jim Blair – Springdale
Nominator: Walton Arts Center, Fayetteville

In Northwest Arkansas, Jim Blair has been an incredible asset as the quality and quantity of cultural opportunities in the region expands. Mr. Blair’s support and significant philanthropic contributions were instrumental in creating the largest performing arts facility in the state – Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville. Blair has continued his financial support of Walton Arts Center with a particular emphasis on visual arts. His notable gift of $3 million to establish a new Fayetteville Public Library made an immediate impact on the support of literary arts in Northwest Arkansas. Additionally, a recent endowed gift to the Fayetteville Public Education Fund established a creative writing workshop and the Blair lecture series for high school students in the area. Blair’s financial support, participation and enthusiasm have greatly benefited the development of the arts in our state. 

Charles Banks Wilson - Fayetteville
Nominator: Larry Foley, Fayetteville

Charles Banks Wilson has been called “America’s finest artist-historian” by the American painter and muralist Thomas Hart Benton. In his lifetime, Wilson has painted many portraits including Will Rogers and Woody Guthrie. Born in Springdale, Arkansas, Wilson began painting after his family moved to Oklahoma when he was a boy. His favorite subject matter was always American Indians. Much of Wilson’s art is part of a permanent collection at the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa. His portrait of a Quapaw warrior hangs in Ole Main, on the campus of the University of Arkansas. The most expansive work of his life was a commission in 1970 to paint four giant historical murals for the Oklahoma Capitol’s rotunda. Each mural is 13 feet tall and 27 feet wide. For 15 years, Wilson taught art at Northeastern Oklahoma A & M College, before devoting his time to traveling the west and working in his studio. Wilson returned to Arkansas in 1989 and awakes every morning to draw and paint - telling new stories of old faces and preserving memories on canvas.

Julia Gardner - Wynne
Nominator – Kay King, Wynne

Julia Gardner, at age 92, remains a leader and inspiration to the arts community in Cross County. She was an art educator in the delta communities of Earle, Parkin, Wynne, and Hughes for over 50 years. She was the first high school art teacher in Wynne, and she worked to promote an appreciation for the arts, as well as bring arts programming to elementary and high school students in the area. She was the driving force in the creation of the Cross County Arts Council, which was formed in 1984. She was also instrumental in the construction of an outdoor classroom, known as “The Learning Curve.” The superintendent of Wynne Public Schools, Mr. Darryl Smith said “Mrs. Gardner is an exemplary role model in our community for people of all ages. She is both loved and respected by all who know her.” 

Lorenzo Smith - Little Rock
Nominator – Irish Williams, Marianna

Lorenzo Smith, owner of a successful music store in Little Rock, is a hero in his hometown of Marianna, Arkansas. Smith is a graduate of Lee County High School and saxophonist in the school band in the 1960’s. Smith understands the importance of music in the lives of students, so when approached to restore the Lee High School Marching Band and revive school spirit and community pride, Smith agreed. Along with a group of Lee County citizens, a band restoration committee was formed. The school district had no money for uniforms and very few working instruments and no band director. Until a band director was hired, Smith would load up his own van with instruments from his music store and drive the 100 miles to Marianna and spend most of his weekend teaching 180 students to play music. Smith continues to work with the band director, teaching workshops and repairing donated instruments, so that eager students can participate. Through Lorenzo Smith’s efforts, Lee County Marching Band students now play at football games and parades and have even received music scholarships to attend college.

The Arkansas Arts Council was established in 1971 to develop and implement a comprehensive statewide program for the support of the arts in Arkansas. The Arts Council carries out a program of services and grants-in-aid supporting arts endeavors that have significance and that encourage and assist artists in achieving standards of professional excellence. In addition, the Arts Council assists other relevant arts projects including surveys, research and planning for the arts.

The Arkansas Arts Council is an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage and shares the goals of all its agencies, that of preserving and enhancing the heritage of the state of Arkansas. The other agencies are: Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, the Delta Cultural Center in Helena, Historic Arkansas Museum, the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center and the Old State House Museum. Funding for the Arkansas Arts Council and its programs is provided by the State of Arkansas and the National Endowment for the Arts.


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