“Arts In The Community” Awards 2017

Arts Wisconsin presents ninth annual Arts in the Community Awards
presented in partnership with the League of Wisconsin Municipalities

The annual Arts in the Community Awards, presented by Arts Wisconsin in partnership with the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, honor communities and civic leaders around the state for championing the arts as integral to economic, educational and community vitality.  The deadline to submit nominations for the 2017 awards is Friday, August 18, 2017.

The 2017 award honorees and sponsors will be recognized at the League’s annual conference in Appleton on October 19, 2017; at Arts Day in Madison in March 2018; and at other Arts Wisconsin events in locations around the state throughout the year (dates/locations TBA).  The awardees will also participate in a conference panel discussion on the benefits, impact and value of the arts and creative economy in and for Wisconsin communities.  Award winners for 2017 will be selected by a panel of civic leaders.  The awards are original works of glass art created by Matthew Heindl of Maatwerk Studio in Blue Mounds, WI.

At least two awards are made each year, to a village, town and city with over 20,000 population and under 20,000 population.

Generous sponsors of the awards are:

  • Heid Music of Appleton, Green Bay, Madison, Oshkosh and Wisconsin Rapids, providing musical instruments and quality instruction throughout the state
  • Redevelopment Resources of Wausau and Madison, providing customized economic development and strategic planning solutions for the development and redevelopment of communities
  • Vierbicher Associates of Madison, Reedsburg, Pewaukee, and Prairie du Chien, providing consulting services to guide and deliver quality land and community development.

How to apply:

Applications must be submitted to Arts Wisconsin by email (info@artswisconsin.org) by 5 pm on Friday, August 18, 2017.

Please note:  the goal of the Arts in the Community Awards is to honor people who are not usually identified as “arts people,” but who are strong champions of the arts, arts education and creative economy in their communities.

Award assessment criteria:  Awards are given on the basis of the following criteria:

o    Demonstrable, ongoing commitment to the arts by local and regional business and government leaders, agencies and organizations

o    Leadership on and championing of a program or project which demonstrates innovative and creative approaches to integrating the arts with civic strategies that has received broad and diverse community support.

Nomination procedure:  Organizations and government agencies may nominate an internal candidate. Additionally, individuals, nonprofit organizations, agencies or businesses may also nominate an elected official or a civic leader.

Each application must contain the following information:

o    Contact information for nominee and nominator (name, title, address, telephone number, email)

o    In a narrative of up to 1000 words:

  • description of the program or project, including a discussion of its objectives, goals, outcomes, and supporters
  • an explanation of how the individual nominated, and the community, program or project, addresses each of the criteria outlined above.
  • Support materials are strongly encouraged to make the most competitive nomination possible.  These can be attached to the email nomination.:
    — Up to three letters of endorsement
    — Print, online, and/or social media promotion/recognition (maximum five examples)
    — Additional program-related materials (maximum five examples)

Selection process:  Arts Wisconsin staff will screen for eligibility based on criteria above. A review committee convened by Arts Wisconsin will be responsible for the final selection.

Please submit nomination info via email to Arts Wisconsin at info@artswisconsin.org by 5 pm on Friday, August 18, 2016.  Awardees will be announced via Arts Wisconsin’s website, social media outlets, and press releases, by Wednesday, September 20, 2017.  Awardees will be recognized and will participate in a panel on the arts and creative economy in Wisconsin, at the League’s annual conference on Thursday, October 19 in Appleton.

Previous Arts in the Community award winners are:


  • Creative Downtown Appleton, led by Josh Dukelow, community activist, and Paula Vandehey, Director of the City of Appleton Public Works, which enriches downtown Appleton’s urban design, public spaces, accessibility and walkability; creates a diverse, inclusive and more livable downtown, and engages the arts and culture in all aspects of community placemaking
  • Alan Nugent, business and cultural tourism leader and a founder of the Widespot Performing Arts Center in Stockholm.


  • Waunakee Creative Economy Initiative
  • City of West Bend


  • Circuit Court Judge Joseph Boles and Pierce County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, based in Ellsworth, WI, for the development and implementation of a civic strategy to improve law enforcement training in de-escalating mental health crisis calls, using a variety of arts disciplines as teaching tools.
  • Reedsburg Mayor Dave Estes, Reedsburg City Administrator Ken Witt, and Reedsburg Chamber of Commerce Director Kristine Koenecke for support of Fermentation Fest – A Live Culture Convergence and the Farm/Art DTour. 


  • Rice Lake Main Street Program, Rice Lake
  • Sheboygan Performing Arts Foundation, Sheboygan


  • State Sen. Sheila Harsdorf, River Falls
  • State Sen. Bob Jauch, Poplar
  • Marlene Doerr Kreilkamp, Founder and former Director, SHARP Literacy, Milwaukee
  • Anastasia Shartin, Visual Arts Director, The Phipps Center for the Arts, Hudson


  • Bill Schierl, President, Arts Alliance of Portage County, Stevens Point
  • Jeff Scrima, former Mayor, Waukesha


  • Lois Smith,  founder of “Walls of Wittenberg,” Wittenberg
  • Julia Taylor, President, Greater Milwaukee Committee, Milwaukee
  • The Green Bay Neighborhood Leadership Council’s Beautification Committee, Green Bay
  • The Hometown Gazette newspaper, Clayton


  • Carol Kratchowill, Vice President,, Sauk County Art Association, Merrimac
  • Menomonie Mayor Dennis Cropp and former Dunn County Board member B. Jane Hoyt, on behalf of the Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts, Menomonie

For more information, contact Anne Katz at Arts Wisconsin, 608 255 8316 | akatz@artswisconsin.org.