Award is Kentucky’s highest honor in the arts
FRANKFORT, Ky. (July 9, 2014) — Kentuckians who have made significant contributions to the arts in the commonwealth, across the country and around the globe will be honored for their lifelong commitment to and achievements in the arts as the recipients of the 2014 Governor’s Awards in the Arts, the Kentucky Arts Council announced today.
The awards will be presented at a public ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda in October during National Arts and Humanities Month.
“It is my great honor to recognize these individuals, both native sons and daughters of Kentucky and others who have chosen to make their homes in Kentucky and enrich our state’s unique culture,” said Gov. Steve Beshear. “I offer congratulations to this year’s recipients of the commonwealth’s highest honors in the arts and thank them for their many contributions to the arts in Kentucky and the nation.”
Nominations for the Governor’s Awards in the Arts are accepted annually from the public. The deadline to make a nomination for the 2015 awards is Nov. 1, 2014. The Kentucky Arts Council coordinates the nomination and selection process for recommendation to the governor.
The Governor’s Awards in the Arts are presented in nine categories. The Milner Award is the first award given and is considered the most prestigious of the nine. Award recipients and descriptions of each follow:
Judith Jennings, Milner Award — Judith “Judi” Jennings’ vast contributions to the arts in Kentucky span decades and have touched thousands of lives. Judi works within the realms of arts and social change. Her work has allowed her to develop a strong local, regional and national presence that benefits Kentucky, Appalachia and rural America by advocating for expanding and diversifying the arts. Her expertise and national approach in addition to her writings on arts and culture challenge national stereotypes about community arts in Kentucky and support the transformative power of community-based arts and culture to create a better commonwealth.
Larnelle Harris, Artist Award — Danville native and Louisville resident Larnelle Harris has achieved broad acclaim and won multiple awards during his 30-year career in gospel music, both as a singer and composer. Throughout his career, Larnelle has written numerous songs and recorded 18 award-winning albums. He has been honored with five Grammy Awards and 11 Dove Awards. Larnelle is a member of the Gospel Music Hall of Fame and is in the Western Kentucky University Hall of Distinguished Alumni. He was inducted into the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame in 2011.
Lexington Center/Rupp Arena Technical Services Staff, Lexington, Business Award — The technicians of the Lexington Center/Rupp Arena Technical Services Staff are among the best in their field, dedicated to making Rupp Arena and the Lexington Center one of the finest presenting facilities in the country. Week after week, the staff work to transform the properties to fit the specific needs of clients’ productions including sporting events, musical acts, dance, theater, trade shows and more.
Market House Theater of Paducah, Community Arts Award —The Market House Theater of Paducah has served its home city, western Kentucky, and the four-state region through its presentations of community theater since 1964. The Market House Theater aims to enhance the quality of life in the community by providing “hands-on” artistic and educational experiences for people of all ages.
Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning, Lexington, Education Award — For more than 20 years, the Carnegie Center has served as a hub of literary activities in Lexington, central Kentucky, and the state. Its activities focus on Kentucky writers and writing. The center offers programs and workshops of all types to beginning and advanced writers, as well as space for individual working writers, meetings of writing groups and book discussion groups. The Center aims to foster participation in the arts as a lifelong process for people of all ages, income groups and ethnicities, and partners with numerous community organizations to create programming and service opportunities to the benefit of the entire community and the commonwealth.
Robert Gates, Frankfort, Folk Heritage Award — Founder and former director of the Kentucky Folklife Program (KFP), Robert “Bob” Gates spent the majority of his professional career dedicated to conserving and documenting Kentucky’s important folk traditions. As the state folklorist from 1989 through 2012, Gates developed the KFP as the state organization dedicated to “documenting, presenting and conserving the traditional art and cultural heritage of the commonwealth.” As the creator of the Kentucky Community Scholars program that has trained more than 200 Kentuckians in documenting local culture and creating community projects, Gates shared through example the vital importance folk art has as a catalyst for community-building on a grassroots level.
City of Danville, Government Award — The local government representing the City of Danville has played an integral role in the success of creating an arts- and culture-focused atmosphere that benefits its residents and attracts tourists from across the nation. The city receives tremendous credit for ensuring the continued success of the Great American Brass Band Festival. The city also was instrumental in obtaining Danville’s Kentucky Cultural District Certification.
Constance Alexander, Murray, Media Award — Constance Alexander is an award-winning poet, playwright, columnist, radio producer and memoir writer with extensive publication, production and broadcasting credits. A community leader and civic journalist, Alexander is also an artist whose works have been published and performed nationwide. For many years, she has written a column for the Murray Ledger & Times that introduces readers to the arts and artists in the region and across the state.
My Morning Jacket, National Award — My Morning Jacket is considered one of the top live rock acts in the world and can claim a discography with a depth of artistry that rivals many in the great American lexicon of popular music. Their music combines experimentalism, heartfelt emotion and unforgettable songs. Their collective interplay is rooted in a decade of friendship and music making forged in their hometown of Louisville. From their early days playing clubs, parties and community centers in Louisville, to recording their first three albums in Shelbyville, My Morning Jacket has brought much acclaim to their home state during the last decade. The members of My Morning Jacket are Jim James, Tom Blankenship, Patrick Hallahan, Bo Koster and Carl Broemel.