2020 Arts Awards Celebration
Due to the current climate with Covid-19, the Ames Community Arts Council was unable to have our annual Arts Awards Celebration in person. Instead, we held the ceremony via Zoom on Sunday, July 19 at 2 p.m. Find the YouTube video of the event here.
2020 Arts Awards Winners
Hazel Hammer Cherished Volunteer
Jim & Diane Patton, nominated by University Museums
Jim & Diane Patton, nominated by University Museums, Iowa State University, are receiving the Hazel Hammer Cherished Volunteer Award. The Pattons became Curators Associates for University Museums, Iowa State University in 2010 and have been part of the volunteer based University Museums Advancement Council since its inception 2014. Lynette L. Pohlman, Director & Chief Curator, notes, “Diane and Jim Patton give more than resources, time, and vision to improve our campus museums and community - they give their heart. Diane and Jim empower people and institutions by caring, with the result being an incredibly impactful couple who act for the betterment of the community, state, and yes, even the nation, through advancing education and service to others. They possess a generosity of spirit and are an inspiration to all.”
Bill Pelz Arts Advocacy Award
Steve Bellin, nominated by Ames Choral Society
Nominated by the Ames Choral Society, with support from numerous other organizations and individuals, Steve Bellin will receive the Bill Pelz Arts Advocacy Award. “Steve Bellin is an enthusiastic supporter, organizer, volunteer, donator, and all-around positive force for the Ames Choral Society and a host of other organizations in Ames,” says Ames Choral Society President Clark Ford. “He is Mr. Enthusiasm, and a heck of a nice guy too! Steve gives of his time, his talents, his energy and any other way he can think of to help … Steve is someone you can rely on to get things done, to lend support for a project, and to be quick with a joke … in all cases Steve is there, lending a hand, making it work,
drumming up enthusiasm, promoting the success of whatever the organization is doing, and smiling.”
Distinguished Board Member
Kitty Fisher, nominated by Ames Choral Society
Kitty Fisher was nominated by the Ames Choral Society to receive the Distinguished Board MemberAward. Kitty has been the Publicist for the Ames Choral Society (ACS) Board of Directors since approximately 2006. As the Publicist for ACS, her efficiency and her attention to detail in all aspects of her duties had a big impact on the success of the organization. Her duties are varied, and include arranging for the designing, printing, and distribution of posters about ACS concerts; writing press releases and communicating with media about ACS events; arranging for publicity photos for each concert; and coordinating ACS outreach events. She said, "If you spend all the time preparing for a good concert, you want people to be in the audience to enjoy it!" She also handles marketing for the Senior Variety Show. She notes, “If I believe in something, I'm out there promoting it!”
Lemonade from Lemons
Susan Gant, nominated by Ames Choral Society
The Ames Choral Society nominated Susan Gant for the Lemonade from Lemons Award. Susan Gant is a treasured member of the Ames Choral Society. She is a musician, an artist, and a creative genius with the written word. All of these talents have been put to good use for the success of the Ames Choral Society, most especially their annual Cabaret. Some recent health challenges have slowed her down, but not by much. This award recognizes the Ames Community Arts Council member who “…met adversity with spunk and vigor that responded to needs and demands in a particularly unique or creative way.” Susan embodies all that this award intends to celebrate.
Art Educator (Primary Education)
James Webb, nominated by the Iowa State Center
James Webb was nominated by the Iowa State Center to receive the Art Educator Award. James uses the arts to connect with his students and to encourage them in all aspects of their education. Webb is an English teacher and Mentor Teacher at Ames High School. A long-time liaison to the Iowa State Center’s OnStage! program for Ames High School, he gives of his time and energy to ensure his students have access to performances and experiences and is a master of helping students reach beyond their own perceived potential to do more and appreciate the world in ways they never imagined. His nominator, Sara Compton says, “James Webb uses English to share the arts and uses the arts in teaching English. They are inseparable. The language of the arts; and the arts and James Webb.”
Art Educator (Secondary Education)
Amanda Petefish-Schrag, nominated by ISU Theatre
The Iowa State University Theatre Department has nominated Amanda Petefish-Schrag for the Art Educator Award. Over the last five years, Amanda’s teaching innovations have become the heart and soul of the educational philosophy of the ISU Theatre program. The department’s new mission statement is all about empowering Citizen Artistry through the performing arts, which is directly inspired from Amanda’s core values - model citizen artistry, fierce curiosity, and an impassioned commitment to equity and diversity. Amanda is a teacher in the trenches. She is working to inspire young theatre artists to engage in artistry that counts and has impact. There are no fixed points, no sacred cows in Amanda’s pedagogy, but instead a constant search for truth, justice, and equality that is responsive to the needs of her students, collaborators, and the world around them.
Veronika Ruedenberg Cultural Entrepreneur
Reliable Street and Lockwood Café, nominated by
The Octagon Center for the Arts
Nominated by the Octagon Center for the Arts, Reliable Street and Lockwood Café perfectly embody the spirit of the Veronika Ruedenberg Cultural Entrepreneur Award. Lyndsay Nissen, Sharon Stewart, and other members of the Reliable Street team imagined a completely new type of organization for Ames -- built by the community and highly responsive to the needs not met elsewhere. From establishing a café in a food desert and an “always open” thrift shop, along with countless artistic opportunities, they continue to innovate and to build community. Ames is fortunate to have such a dedicated cultural organization -- it is exciting to think of what they will do next!
Mary Richards, nominated by ACTORS
The Local Treasure Award will be given to Mary Richards. While nominated by ACTORS, Mary is actively involved in KHOI, Ames Town and Gown, and numerous other organizations. Mary has been treasured by every organization that she supports. When Mary participates in a show, she does so much more than perform. Mary is the person that relates to very young people in the cast as well as the grownups on the stage. Additionally, she recognizes and shares the importance of community in theater. That is what ACTORS is about, and Mary is an example of what is good in Community Theater. Mary is the cheerleader for ACTORS. She may not have pom poms, but when compliments have been earned, she is the first to deliver them. She champions the people that support arts in Ames. Nominator Stan Rabe says, “If I ever grow up, I want to be like Mary.”
Alice Thompson and Jim Okey,
nominated by Senior Variety Show
Nominated for the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Senior Variety show, both Alice Thompson and Jim Okey are life-long performers and promoters of the Arts in Ames. Many people dabble in the performing arts throughout their lives, but for a few, it becomes a way of life. For avid musicians Jim Okey and Alice Thompson, it seemed to be a necessity, as both are still performing well into their 90s. Alice has sung all her life through her church and other community groups. Coming from a musical family, her 3 years of piano lessons as a child set her on the road to making music. Likewise, Jim Okey started early, entertaining audiences in Junior High. He has been a constant presence on stage and a force in the Ames performing arts, including ISU Theatre, and ACTORS. Their dedication to the arts has given them purpose and focus, which kept them young at heart. They have given us much enjoyment. It is an honor to recognize Jim and Alice for their achievements.