“Arts In The Community” Awards 2018

2018 honorees
Previous honorees

Arts Wisconsin announces 2018 Arts in the Community Awards

Arts Wisconsin, Wisconsin’s statewide community cultural development organization, is pleased to announced the presentation of the tenth annual Arts in the Community Awards on Thursday, October 25, 2018, during the League of Wisconsin Municipalities’ 120th annual conference, at the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells, WI.

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

“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 Board President Ann Huntoon. “We’re proud to partner with the League of Municipalities to present these awards, and appreciative of the sponsors who make the awards possible.”  

2018 awardees are:

Ken  Juon,  President,  ArtStart  Board  of  Directors, Artstart, Rhinelander
Ken  Juon was  one  of  four  founders  who  made  a  vision  the  reality  of  ArtStart.  Ken’s leadership helped bring together business people,  artists,  arts patrons,  educators,  and civic leaders who transformed  the  historic  Federal  Building  in  downtown  Rhinelander  into  a  destination  arts  and  cultural  center.  The  mission  of  ArtStart  is to  inspire, challenge  and  educate  through  cultural  events  and  highly-distinctive,  curated  visual  art  exhibitions  with  the  purpose  of  strengthening  and  sustaining  the community.

Artstart came into being when the  City  of  Rhinelander  purchased  the  historic  Post  Office building  from  the  federal  government  and  leased  it  to  ArtStart  for  a  nominal  rent. Opened in 2011, programs include a variety of exhibits, musical events, film screening, and classes for kids throughout the Northwoods.  Artstart led the way to establish the School  of  the  Arts  Legacy  Program,  which  continues  the  tradition  of  artistic programming at  all  levels  of  accomplishment  and connections  with  kindred  spirits  from  around  the  region.  ArtStart  is  now  established as  a  community  anchor  institution made possible by public/private partnerships and generous community involvement and support.

Raised in Iowa, Ken’s background as a sculptor and arts administrator in New York City and his community spirit have served Rhinelander well.  Ken has been long been a strong collaborator in Northwoods economic and community development, including Artstart’s involvement in Forward Rhinelander, Downtown Rhinelander, the city’s Business Improvement District, and Main Street Rhinelander.   

Ryan Heise, Village Administrator, Village of Egg Harbor
Since Ryan Heise arrived in Egg Harbor in 2015, he has made it a priority to cultivate community through public art, sustainability programs, and community engagement.  Ryan has been instrumental in providing guidance to the village’s Public Arts Initiative group as a start-up and as a nonprofit organization, as the designated liaison between the Village and the Public Art Initiative.  Ryan’s leadership has made it possible for PAI to work in partnership with the village on programs and services.

Ryan was a guiding force in the development and completion of the Donald and Carol Kress Pavilion, has helped to revitalize numerous locations that connect the village with the waters of Green Bay, assisted the Public Art Initiative in designing public art infrastructure in the village, connected Egg Harbor to the Green Tier sustainability program, and in general, has promoted a culture of transparency and involvement in the village that benefits all residents and visitors to the community.

Generous sponsors of the 2018 awards are:

  • Heid Music, of Appleton, Green Bay, Madison, Oshkosh and Stevens Point, WI, providing musical instruments and quality music instruction throughout the state
  • Redevelopment Resources of Madison, WI, providing customized economic development and strategic planning solutions for the development and redevelopment of communities
  • Vierbicher of Madison, Metro Milwaukee, Prairie du Chien, and Reedsburg, WI, providing consulting services to guide and deliver quality land and community development.
  • BigRentz.com – the nation’s largest equipment rental network.

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.

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













Previous Arts in the Community honorees are:


  • Mark Elliott, Executive Director, Northwest Passage, Webster, WI
    Mark Elliott has led Northwest Passage, which provides innovative residential mental health services to at-risk youth ages 12-17 and their families through innovative mental health services, since 2000.   NWP’s cornerstone therapeutic arts program is In a New Light, using photography as a medium for expression and healing.  Since 2012, photography art by NWP youth has been supported by the National Park Service and other national, state and local funders, and has been exhibited in more than 40 locations locally and nationally.  The In a New Light Gallery in Webster showcases NWP students’ artwork  to the public, giving youth a platform upon which to use their art to rewrite society’s narrative about themselves and other vulnerable youth like them. The gallery has filled a decade-old arts and culture void in the area and is one of only a few art galleries in Burnett County.
  • Stephanie Samarripa, Anti-Graffiti Program Coordinator, City of Milwaukee Department of Neighborhood Services, Milwaukee, WI  
    Since 2012, the City of Milwaukee’s Department of Neighborhood Services has been committed to ensuring that public art is created in neighborhoods with, by, and for the residents of that neighborhood, reclaiming public space through art as sources of pride for residents and the community.  The Department of Neighborhood Services has historically been involved in fighting blight through correction of building code violations.  The outreach beautification efforts leverage building knowledge and community connections to support a multi-faceted outreach section that partners with community groups, artist collectives, and residents to create public art that is reflective of Milwaukee’s rich diversity and heritage.


  • 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.


  • 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 Initiativefor 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 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

Nomination process:

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.  Individuals, nonprofit organizations, agencies or businesses may nominate an elected official, government program, or civic leader.

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:  

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(s).

Please submit nomination info via email to Arts Wisconsin at info@artswisconsin.org by 5 pm on Friday, August 31, 2018.  Honorees will be announced via Arts Wisconsin’s website, social media outlets, and press releases, by Friday, September 21, 2018.  Honorees will be recognized at the League’s annual conference on Thursday, October 25, 2018, in Wisconsin Dells.