2016 Arts in the Community Awards

Arts Wisconsin, Wisconsin’s statewide arts service, advocacy, and development organization, presented the the eighth annual Arts in the Community Awards in October 2016.

Click here for information on the 2017 Arts in the Community Awards.

These awards, presented by Arts Wisconsin in partnership with the League of Wisconsin Municipaliawardslogo2016ties and made possible with generous support from Heid Music, Redevelopment Resources, and Vierbicher Associates, honor civic leaders and communities throughout the state for championing the arts as integral to economic, educational and community vitality.

The 2016 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.  Click here for more info.
  • Alan Nugent, business and cultural tourism leader and a founder of the Widespot Performing Arts Center in Stockholm, an arts and community center for the “West Coast” of Wisconsin.  Click here for more info.

Award winners for 2016 were selected by a panel of civic leaders from a highly competitive statewide pool of nominees.

The award winners will be recognized at the League of Municipalities’ annual conference on Thursday, October 20, 2016, at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Conference Center in Stevens Point. 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.

Many thanks to our generous sponsors!

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

“The Arts in the Community Awards are a wonderful way to celebrate visionary leadership in and advocacy for the arts in Wisconsin’s communities,” says Arts Wisconsin Executive Director Anne Katz. “We’re proud to partner with the League of Municipalities to present these awards, and appreciative of the sponsors who make the awards possible.”  

The Arts in the Community awards are unique works of glass art designed and created by Matthew Heindl of Maatwerk Studios in Blue Mounds, WI.

Previous Arts in the Community award winners are:


  • The City of West Bend for steadfast and long-term commitment to promote the visual and performing arts in West Bend; Kraig Sadownikow, City of West Bend Mayor and Craig Hoeppner, City of West Bend Parks, Recreation & Forestry Director.
  • Waunakee Creative Economy Initiative, for this Village-led, ongoing effort identify existing sources of creativity and innovation throughout the village, and foster their growth into a formidable sector of the local economy; the Village Board and Todd Schmidt, Village Administrator and Economic Development Director.


  • 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 Association, 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
  • Mayor Jeff Scrima, 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

About Creative Downtown Appleton:  

Creative Downtown Appleton represents the entire community, and is working on development of a public art plan, annual art installations, improvement of Downtown gathering spaces, support for pop-up art galleries and exhibits, Art on the Town gallery walk events as well as a new holiday event.   Creative Downtown Appleton supports the belief that the arts are an integral part of a healthy culture, economy and community. Public art connects people to a sense of place and can create a strong indentity and competitive edge that helps attract residents and visitors of all ages.

Josh Dukelow grew up in Slinger, WI and graduated from Lawrence Univeristy in Appleton in 2002. He earned a Master’s of Public Affairs from the LaFollette School at UW-Madison and chose to make Appleton his home in 2007. Since then he has been involved with countless events and organizations including the Chamber of Commerce, Convention & Visitor’s Bureau, Lawrence, and Appleton Downtown Inc (ADI). Josh also has a deep interest in local government, serving on the Appleton City Plan Commission since 2010 and running for mayor of Appleton in 2016.  He says he lacks artistic talent, but values the opportunity to work alongside the artists, volunteers, and community leaders who make the placemaking mission of Creative Downtown Appleton possible.

Paula Vandehey, a Fox Valley native, is a 1986 University of Madison graduate and Professional Engineer in Civil and Environmental Engineering.  Her professional engineering career started in Pasadena, California and then the City of Milwaukee.  She has been with the City of Appleton since 1989, and Director of Public Works since 2000.  The position is responsible for a Department of 159 employees and an annual budget of $40,000,000.

About Alan Nugent and the Widespot Performing Arts Center, Stockholm:

The WideSpot Performing Arts Center was founded in 2009 by Alan Nugent with Kelli Tatum, who now works with Black Dirt Theatre in Hastings, MN.

Alan and Kelli had a vision to create a space in the area for performances and community events.   This historic building has been an opera house, basketball court, roller rink, warehouse, furniture refinisher, plus lots more in its 100+ years.  The Widespot has hosted all sorts of events, from gumbo cookoffs to community theater to candidate forums to radio shows.  Musicians, authors, actors, comedians, cooks and more have graced the stage. Acts at the WideSpot over the past seven years have included Grammy-award winner Pat Donohue and numerous Grammy-nominated acts such as the Jimmys, Colleen Raye, Vicky Emerson, the Butanes, Prudence Johnson, and Dan Chouinard.  In a town of 66 people, it is the community living room for the entire region.  

Alan has been an integral part of the successful arts and tourism renaissance in Stockholm for over 13 years. He is the owner of Abode Gallery & Design, a thriving gallery and interior design business a strong focus on local and regional artisan, located in the historic Stockholm building he owns with his partner, Steve Grams. That building also houses the Widespot Performing Arts Center.

Best known as an interior designer, and with a degree in theater, Alan has curated art collections and shows for major corporations and regional organizations.  Deeply involved in tourism and environmental issues along the “west coast of Wisconsin,” he has helped form and guide numerous organizations. In 2006, Alan and Steve founded the Stockholm Merchants Association, which has grown to be one of the most successful destination marketing organizations in the region. Alan is also proud to have served at a state level with a past term on the board of directors of Arts Wisconsin.