The Arts and Education Council will host its 24th annual St. Louis Arts Awards on Monday, January 19, 2015 at the Chase Park Plaza. This year’s gala will begin with a cocktail reception at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner and awards at 7 p.m. The event is chaired by Jim Turley, retired chairman and chief executive officer of Ernst & Young, and his wife, Lynne, a board member of STAGES St. Louis. The presenting sponsors for the 2015 St. Louis Arts Awards are World Wide Technology, Inc. and the Steward Family Foundation.
“We are thrilled to serve for a second year as co-chairs of the Arts and Education Council’s 2015 St. Louis Arts Awards,” said the Turleys. “The arts are critically important to shaping and growing the vibrant community in which we live, work and play; and one in which employers find talented, bright employees. In addition to honoring outstanding artists, educators and advocates for the arts, proceeds from the 2015 St. Louis Arts Awards provide a solid funding foundation for nearly 70 organizations throughout our region. We are proud that our participation and personal investment in this important event yields incredible cultural returns to St. Louis.”
Presented since 1992, the St. Louis Arts Awards is the preeminent award ceremony honoring individuals who achieve a legacy of artistic excellence, and organizations and businesses that enrich St. Louis’ arts and cultural community. Proceeds from the evening benefit the Arts and Education Council’s annual campaign.
“Thelma and I don’t believe people pursue careers in the arts because they expect to become rich or famous – or even to win awards. They do it because their desire is so deep, they cannot imagine doing anything else. That inner passion gives them the courage and perseverance to strive for excellence, inspiring the rest of us. said World Wide Technology Founder and Chairman David Steward. “World Wide Technology and the Steward Family Foundation are honored to serve as presenting sponsors of the 2015 St. Louis Arts Awards, which annually showcases the amazing talent and dedication displayed by these individuals. We look forward to celebrating this year’s remarkable honorees and their impact on making St. Louis a wonderful place to work, live and play.”
Those being honored in 2015 are: Jill McGuire, Regional Arts Commission, Lifetime Achievement in the Arts; Warner Baxter and Tom Voss, Ameren, Corporate Leadership in the Arts; Ken and Nancy Kranzberg, Excellence in Philanthropy; Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, Excellence in the Arts; Denise Thimes, Excellence in the Arts; Jim McKelvey and Doug Auer, Third Degree Glass Factory, Arts Innovators; and Winifred Crock, Parkway Central High School, Art Educator of the Year.
“These honorees represent the exceptional creative work happening across the St. Louis region and the breadth of support for the arts in our community,” said Cynthia A. Prost, president of the Arts and Education Council. “We are honored to recognize the accomplishments of these individuals and organizations and welcome the community to join us in celebrating their contributions to St. Louis.”
Lifetime Achievement in the Arts – Jill McGuire, Regional Arts Commission
In announcing her retirement, Michael Scully, chairman of the Regional Arts Commission (RAC), said, “Jill McGuire has been a vision-ary for the arts and for the community during her tenure. The Commission is grateful for her leadership and innumerable contribu-tions to RAC over the past 29 years.” Indeed, it’s hard to imagine the organi-zation without McGuire, who has been the executive director of RAC since it was created in 1985. Under her leader-ship, RAC has awarded more than 5,000 grants, totaling $65 million.
Excellence in Philanthropy – Ken and Nancy Kranzberg
Ken and Nancy Kranzberg
Thanks to the Kranzbergs, more than 500 civic, social and arts organiza-tions have benefited from the Kranzbergs’ philanthropy. Through their dedicated service and generosity, they have built an impor-tant legacy of community involvement and collaboration, which will have an enduring impact on the region. Their passion and leadership created the Kranzberg Arts Center in Grand Center and through the Kranzberg Arts Foundation, the Northside Workshop. They led the successful capital cam-paign for Laumeier Sculpture Park that will add an education laboratory for art and a fine arts center. Additionally, the dynamic duo has provided board lead-ership and financial support to organi-zations such as A&E, Regional Arts Commission, Grand Center, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Dance St. Louis, Jazz St. Louis, Saint Louis Art Museum, KDHX 88.1 FM and many more.
Corporate Leadership in the Arts – Warner Baxter and Tom Voss, Ameren
Ameren, its leaders and employees have been longtime champions of the arts in the St. Louis region, raising over $2.7 million for the Arts and Education Council’s Workplace Giving Campaign over three decades. Both Tom Voss, who retired in July as Chairman, President and CEO, and Warner Baxter, who succeeded Voss, personify a passionate commitment to the arts. Ameren’s support of our cultural com-munity is broad and deep; and helps ensure that the St. Louis area’s legacy of artistic excellence will continue to provide adults and children with excep-tional art and culture experiences for generations to come. Ameren’s outstanding support for organizations such as the St. Louis Symphony, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, COCA, Craft Alliance, Circus Flora, The Black Rep, Dance St. Louis, Jazz St. Louis, Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis, The Muny and many more, ultimately strengthens the neighborhoods and communities where we live, work and play.
Excellence in the Arts – Denise Thimes
In a career that spans over two decades, Denise Thimes has become one of the most cherished voices of modern jazz. An accomplished performer, she has toured America, Europe and Asia with numerous critically acclaimed produc-tions. She has performed with some of the biggest names in jazz, including Tony Bennett, Clark Terry, James Moody and Cyrus Chestnut. Since 1997, Thimes has headlined a special Mother’s Day show at the Sheldon Concert Hall to raise money for the organization she started in her mother’s name, the Mildred Thimes Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer.
Excellence in the Arts – Shakespeare Festival St. Louis
Founded in 1997, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis staged its first free production, “Romeo and Juliet,” in Forest Park in 2001. Since the initial two-week run that attracted 33,000 audience mem-bers, the Festival has grown into a year-round institution producing over 250 public performances annually and growing beyond Forest Park to the schools and streets of St. Louis. In 2014, the Festival took on its most ambitious project to date, staging two Shakespeare productions, “Henry IV” and “Henry V,” running consecutive nights, and entertained 640,000 patrons. Today, the Festival is recog-nized as an arts and culture leader and one of the foremost Shakespeare festivals in the United States.
Arts Innovators – Jim McKelvey and Doug Auer, Third Degree Glass Factory
Jim McKelvey and Doug Auer estab-lished Third DegreeGlass Factory in 2002 not only to bring attention to the fine art of glass blowing, but also to create a neighborhood hub. They took a dilapidated 1930s autodealership and service station and turned it into a state-of-the-art glass facility/community arts center. Today, Third Degree makes the tradition of working with glass available for all artistic levels by offer-ing classes and free, monthly open houses where attendees watch glass-blowing demonstrations, hear live music and discover art created by local and regional artists.
Art Educator of the Year – Winifred Crock, Parkway Central High School
Winifred Crock has been a beloved music educator for more than 25 years. Currently, she is the orchestra director at Parkway Central High School, and maintains a private violin stu-dio in suburban St. Louis. Her guiding belief is that every child can learn and deserves excellence, and she is com-mitted to ensuring those high stan-dards are honored and respected. In 2004, the Parkway Central High School Music Department received a Grammy Gold Signature Award as one of the top ten high school music departments in the country. Mrs. Crock has worked tirelessly to promote quality music education for all children. As a member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas, she has raised awareness of the need for and value of quality music education in the public school setting.
For more information about the 2015 St. Louis Arts Awards visit KeepArtHappening.org/what/2015_St._Louis_Arts_Awards.