“Arts In The Community” Awards

Arts Wisconsin announces nomination process for 2019 Arts in the Community Awards

Previous honorees
Nomination information

Arts Wisconsin, Wisconsin’s statewide community cultural development organization, has opened nominations (click here for nomination info) of civic champions for the eleventh annual Arts in the Community Awards.  The awards will presented to the honorees on Thursday, October 24, 2019 during the League of Wisconsin Municipalities’ 121th annual conference, at the KI Center/Hyatt Regency in Green Bay, WI.

The awards, presented by Arts Wisconsin in partnership with the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, honor civic leaders and communities throughout the state for championing the arts as integral to economic, educational and community vitality.

Current sponsors of the 2019 awards:

  • Redevelopment Resources of Madison, WI, providing customized economic development and strategic planning solutions for the development and redevelopment of communities
  • Vierbicher of Madison, Pewaukee, Prairie du Chien, and Reedsburg, WI, providing consulting services to guide and deliver quality land and community development.
  • Wisconsin Downtown Action Council, advocating for strong, vibrant downtowns statewide.

Arts Wisconsin is seeking sponsorships for the 2019 awards.  As a sponsor of the Arts in the Community Awards, you will enjoy statewide recognition and show that your business values the arts, culture, creativity and community.  Click here for information about the benefits and to sign on as a sponsor today!

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

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 CST on Friday, August 30, 2019.  Honorees will be announced via Arts Wisconsin’s website, social media outlets, and press releases, by Friday, September 20, 2019.  Honorees will be recognized at the League’s annual conference on Thursday, October 24, 2019 during the League of Wisconsin Municipalities’ 121th annual conference, at the KI Center/Hyatt Regency in Green Bay, WI.

Previous Arts in the Community honorees:


  • 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.
  • Ryan Heise, Village Administrator, Village of Egg Harbor
    Ryan cultivates community through public art, sustainability programs, and community engagement.  Ryan was 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 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.


  • 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

Past sponsors of the awards include:

  • Heid Music, of Appleton, Green Bay, Madison, Oshkosh and Stevens Point, WI, providing musical instruments and quality music instruction throughout the state
  • BigRentz.com – the nation’s largest equipment rental network.