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Governor's Arts Awards Honor Arts and Community Leaders

Aug 7, 2018

DES MOINES – A long-time arts leader from Marion and three community groups from Des Moines, Jefferson and Oskaloosa were honored with the 2018 Governor's Arts Award on Friday.

Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg presented the awards on behalf of Gov. Kim Reynolds to Karen Hoyt of Marion, Community Support Advocates of Des Moines, Jefferson Matters: Main Street Tower View Team and FACE of Mahaska County during the 2018 Iowa Arts Summit in Ankeny. Administered by the Iowa Arts Council, the awards recognize and honor individuals, communities and organizations in Iowa that have had a significant impact on the vitality of the arts in Iowa.

"As we celebrate arts and culture in Iowa, it's my pleasure to recognize these award recipients for the impact they've had on our communities," Gregg said. "Whether it has been organizing community-wide projects and events or finding new and innovative ways to connect people with the arts, they have been the cornerstones of cultural vitality and quality of life in Iowa. I encourage all Iowans to join me in congratulating all of today's award recipients."

A list of this year’s Governor's Arts Award recipients follows:

Category: 2018 Governor's Arts Legacy Award
Recipient: Karen Hoyt of Marion

When Karen Hoyt retired from teaching in 2007, she thought she'd spend more time in her studio working on her art. "I'm a working artist, but that's such a solitary experience," she said. "I discovered I'm more of a people person and I need to interact with friends to be happy." So she started volunteering on a lengthy list of cultural arts and creative placemaking projects, including the annual Marion Arts Festival, the Art in the Depot student project and Marion's World Lunch Event. She also secured a $350,000 grant from ArtPlace America – the only one received in Iowa – to support the Uptown Artway public art project. She received the Governor's Arts Legacy Award for her role in those projects and many others in Marion. "I'm pretty blown away," she said. "I think it's great (because) this award demonstrates the arts are valued in Iowa and it says ordinary people like me can make a difference."

Category: 2018 Governor's Arts Award – Nonprofit Award
Recipient: Community Support Advocates (Des Moines)

For 14 years, Community Support Advocates has organized an annual art show called "Momentum" to showcase artists with disabilities, brain injuries and mental health issues. The program exposes them to the arts, inspires non-traditional artists and enhances the skills of more advanced artists. The group expanded its mission in 2016 to connect under-served populations to art and, in 2017, received several grants to hire a coordinator, secure an arts studio and partner with local artists. "We started this (program) thinking 'Where could they have a safe space to create art and be surrounded by it?' and 'How do we build hope and resiliency through the arts?'" said Christina Smith, CEO and president of Community Support Advocates. "But this is more than art therapy. We believe art can be transformative." The group's next goals focus on helping artists appeal to a wider audience, generate income and foster greater understanding of mental health and disability issues.

Category: 2018 Governor's Arts Award – Nonprofit Award
Recipient: FACE of Mahaska County (Oskaloosa)

Moving into a new location at the Oskaloosa Art Center has given FACE a new lease on life with a gallery, shop, studio space, classrooms and a performance space that helps them connect artists with audiences. "I didn't have a lot of access to art until I moved away to college," said artist and teacher Matt Kargol, who also serves as FACE vice president and gallery coordinator. "When I returned, I wanted my students to be able to see art closer to home even if they're not coming into the Art Center." FACE is meeting that challenge by developing a sculpture tour around town and nearby University Park, a pottery studio and classes for all levels. The group also has created programs such as open-mic nights, poetry readings, painting and knitting classes, art camps and ethnic dinners. FACE is currently working on the opening of a sculpture annex, which will house 3-D art and murals.

Category: 2018 Governor's Arts Award – Community Award
Recipient: Jefferson Matters: Main Street Tower View Team

Rising 168-feet into the air, the Mahanay Memorial Carillon Tower in Jefferson has become the community's focal point for new public art and creative placemaking projects. The tower's observation deck offers breathtaking views "and that was the driving point for developing new ideas: 'What can you see from the tower?'" said Peg Raney, executive director of the Jefferson Matters: Main Street program. It turns out there is plenty to see. A team of volunteers and artists installed public sculptures, organized the city's fourth public piano installation and developed Jefferson's first alley art in "Sally's Alley," which was featured on National Public Radio. The team also installed art on the rooftops of three downtown buildings. "We appreciate that these projects in rural communities are being recognized," Raney said. "(It) empowers small communities who view art as economic development to move forward in their progress of drawing people to their community."

The awards were presented during the 2018 Iowa Arts Summit Friday at the FFA Enrichment Center in Ankeny, where approximately 250 state and national arts professionals, community leaders and advocates gathered to network, learn and celebrate the arts in Iowa. The summit was presented by the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs.

The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and its three divisions – the Iowa Arts Council, Produce Iowa - State Office of Media Production and the State Historical Society of Iowa – empower Iowa to build and sustain culturally vibrant communities by connecting Iowans to the people, places and points of pride that define our state. The department’s work enables Iowa to be recognized as a state that fosters creativity and serves as a catalyst for innovation where the stories of Iowa are preserved and communicated to connect past, present and future generations.