Creative Community Champion Awards

For immediate release
Contact:  Anne Katz, Arts Wisconsin
608 255 8316 /
October 25, 2021

Honoring Wisconsin’s municipal Poets Laureate and Writers-in-Residence
Presented by Arts Wisconsin in partnership with the League of Wisconsin Municipalities
More info at

 Arts Wisconsin, in partnership with the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, presented the annual Wisconsin Creative Champions Awards (formerly Arts in the Community Awards) at the League of Wisconsin Municipalities’ annual conference in Green Bay on October 21, 2021.  These awards honor civic leaders as champions and communities in Wisconsin focused on creativity as integral to civic engagement, community vitality, and access for everyone, everywhere in the state.  The 2021 honorees are Wisconsin’s municipal Poets Laureate and Writers-in-Residence:

LaMoine MacLaughlin
Poet Laureate
City of Amery 

Lucy Tyrrell
Poet Laureate
City of Bayfield

Ken Szymanski
Writer in Residence
City of Eau Claire

Joseph Engel
Poet Laureate
City of Kenosha

Angela Trudell Vasquez

Poet Laureate
City of Madison

Dasha Kelly Hamilton Poet Laureate, City of Milwaukee      Wisconsin Poet Laureate

Tom Cannon
Poet Laureate
City of Oshkosh

Debra Hall
Poet Laureate
City of Racine

Jon Gadbois
Poet Laureate
City of Stevens Point

Lisa Vihos

Poet Laureate
City of Sheboygan

Dawn Anderson

Poet Laureate
City of Wausau

Poets Laureate and Writers-in-Residence are officially appointed by their municipalities as ambassadors of poetry, literature, literature, and storytelling, and leading community-oriented projects for and with local residents.  Establishing a community Poet Laureate provides opportunities for greater appreciation of poetry and creativity, and recognizes the place that poetry has in a community’s cultural tradition and civic life.   Any community of any size can establish a Poet Laureate or Writer in Residence program (get in touch with Arts Wisconsin if you want to discuss having a Poet Laureate program in your community).

Award sponsors:

Gold Sponsors
Guardian Fine Art Services, Milwaukee
League of Wisconsin Municipalities
Wisconsin Downtown Action CouncilSilver Sponsors
Ward-Brodt Music, Madison
Wisconsin Counties AssociationBronze Sponsors
Arts for All Wisconsin
Association of Wisconsin Symphony Orchestras
Heid Music, Appleton, Green Bay, Madison, Oshkosh, Stevens Pt – Madison realtors
Vierbicher, Madison, Pewaukee, Prairie du Chien, Reedsburg
Wisconsin Craft
Wisconsin Presenters Network Rose Sponsor, Milwaukee

About the presenting organizations:

  • Arts Wisconsin is Wisconsin’s community cultural development organization, ensuring equity and access to creative opportunities for everyone, everywhere in the state, for economic vitality, education for the 21st century, vibrant communities, and engaged residents.
  • The League of Wisconsin Municipalities is a nonprofit and nonpartisan association of cities and villages that acts as an information clearinghouse, lobbying organization, technical assistance provider, and legal resource throughout Wisconsin.    

Previous Arts in the Community honorees:

  • 2020:  Zach Vruwink, Administrator, City of Rhinelander and former Mayor, City of Wisconsin Rapids
  • 2019:  the City of Waupaca and the Waupaca Arts and Culture Coalition for ongoing partnership on the city’s first-ever cultural plan, and Altoona Mayor Brendan Pratt
  • 2018:  Ken Juon, President, Board of Directors, Artstart, Rhinelander, and Ryan Heise, Village Administrator, Village of Egg Harbor
  • 2017:  Mark Elliott, Executive Director, Northwest Passage, Webster; and Stephanie Samarripa, Anti-Graffiti Program Coordinator, City of Milwaukee Department of Neighborhood Services
  • 2016:  Creative Downtown Appleton, led by Josh Dukelow, community activist, and Paula Vandehey, City of Appleton Public Works Director; and Alan Nugent, civic leader and a founder of the Widespot Performing Arts Center in Stockholm
  • 2015:  the City of West Bend, for long-term commitment to promote the visual and performing arts in West Bend; and the Waunakee Creative Economy Initiative, a village-led, ongoing effort to grow Waunakee’s creative economy.
  • 2014:  Circuit Court Judge Joseph Boles and Pierce County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, based in Ellsworth, WI, for using the arts to improve law enforcement training in de-escalating mental health crisis calls; and Reedsburg Mayor Dave Estes, City Administrator Ken Witt, and Chamber of Commerce Director Kristine Koenecke for support of Fermentation Fest and the Farm/Art DTour. 
  • 2013:  Rice Lake Main Street Program and the Sheboygan Performing Arts Association, Sheboygan
  • 2012:  State Sen. Sheila Harsdorf, River Falls; State Sen. Bob Jauch, Poplar; Marlene Doerr Kreilkamp, Founder, SHARP Literacy, Milwaukee; Anastasia Shartin, Visual Arts Director, Phipps Center for the Arts, Hudson
  • 2011:  Bill Schierl, President, Arts Alliance of Portage County, Stevens Point; and former Mayor Jeff Scrima, Waukesha
  • 2010: 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; and The Hometown Gazette newspaper, Clayton
  • 2009:  Carol Kratchowill, Vice President, Sauk County Art Association, Merrimac; and Former Menomonie Mayor Dennis Cropp and former Dunn County Board member B. Jane Hoyt, for the Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts, Menomonie.

For more information on the Creative Champion Awards, Wisconsin’s creative sector, and Arts Wisconsin, contact Anne Katz, Executive Director, 608 255 8316 |