FORT WAYNE, Ind. (ARTS UNITED) – Arts United presented its 10th annual Arts United Awards. Below is a verbatim statement on the award winners and grant recipients.On January 20, 2018 from 5:30pm to 8:00pm at the Arts United Center, Arts United presented the tenth annual Arts United Awards. The event featured performances by Fort Wayne Ballet and Heartland Sings, as well as a keynote address from Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry and the first annual presentation of the Mayor’s Arts Awards. Arts United also recognized the recipients of $825,000 in grant support awarded in the year 2017 by Arts United and the Indiana Arts Commission. “This year’s Arts United Awards highlights the tremendous diversity and outstanding accomplishments of our region’s arts and cultural leaders. Fort Wayne’s artists are powerfully supporting all facets of our community’s growth, such as healthcare, human services, education, community development and talent attraction,” said Arts United Board Chairman Doug Wood.Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry presented a keynote speech during the event, offering support for the concept of a Public Art Commission and the development of the downtown Arts Campus as a regional destination for arts and culture. Mayor Henry presented the inaugural Mayor’s Arts Awards to two recipients.Mayor’s Arts Award Recipient, Ben Eisbart Serving the Fort Wayne community withdistinction for over 45 years, Eisbart recently culminated his professional career as Vice President for Human Resources and Chief Compliance Office at Steel Dynamics. Eisbarthas led the boards of the AWS Foundation and Quest, and has also served on the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission, Metropolitan Human Relations Commission, and Capital Improvement Board. Eisbart has combined his leadership skills with his appreciation for the arts to lead the boards of the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Fort Wayne Civic Theatre, and most recently the Fort Wayne Philharmonic. Eisbartcurrently serves on the board of Arts Unitedand continues to make a significant impact on Fort Wayne through his leadership.Mayor’s Arts Award Recipient, Fort Wayne Youtheatre’s Young Heroes of Conscience Series Started in 2014, the Young Heroes of Conscience Series premieres biographical theatre that educates, entertains and captures the human experience. Each production spotlights young people who have had an impact on the world. The series is brought to thousands of area school students and comes with curricular activities that connect with area classrooms. The series also partners Fort Wayne Youtheatre with area social service agencies, using theatre to expand and enrich their reach and mission. The program, developed by Fort Wayne Youtheatre executive director Leslie Hormann and local playwright and director, Gregory Stieber, allows young actors and audience members to embrace challenging topics such as the holocaust through Remembering Anne, the AIDS epidemic through The Kid from Kokomo, The Ryan White Story, and the struggle for integration of our schools through Ruby Bridges. In 2018, Youtheatre will tackle the inspirational story of Young Harriett Tubman. In a surprise announcement Arts United awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award to board member Nancy Stewart. Stewart serves as the chair of the Arts United Awards.Arts United Lifetime Achievement Award — Nancy StewartSince moving to Fort Wayne from San Diego, California in 1972, Stewart has made a career as an active community volunteer. Stewart recently completed her term as Chair of the Indiana Arts Commission and continues to represent northeast Indiana as a Commissioner. She has served as President of the Junior League of Fort Wayne, Chair of the Canterbury School Board, Chair of the Quest Club, and Chair of the Fort Wayne Museum of Art. Nancy Co-Chaired Capital Campaigns for the Arts Plaza, Fort Wayne Museum of Art expansion, and Arts United’s Auer Center for Arts & Culture. She continues to be involved with the Boards of Arts United, Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Artlink and the Fort Wayne Museum of Art. While her primary involvement has been in the arts and education, Nancy has made magic happen for many special IPFW community projects; Tapestry, Mastodons on Parade, RiverFest, and Sculpture with Purpose.Twenty-nine nominations were received for Arts United Awards in seven categories. Recipients of 2018 Arts United Awards included:Emerging Artist — Caleb Young, nominated by Fort Wayne Philharmonic
Young joined the Fort Wayne Philharmonic in the fall of 2016 as the Assistant Conductor, where he led initiatives like Music + Mixology, Leading by Listening, and Musically Speaking. Young also serves as the founder and conductor of KammerMahler, a mobile chamber orchestra that specializes in performing large scale symphonic works in a chamber orchestra setting.Emerging Leader – Fatima Washington, nominated by Fort Wayne Civic Theatre
Washington serves as the Assistant Director of Genesis Outreach, Inc. and CEO of Willie David Entertainment. Through her participation in Leadership Fort Wayne, Washington joined the Fort Wayne Civic Theatre as board member, and she was cast in the lead role in their production of Memphis.Emerging Leader – Andy Planck, nominated by Janet Treadway
Planck is the Founder and Executive Artistic Director of Three Rivers Music Theatre. Planck earned a BFA in Musical Theatre at Ball State University, and after working in production companies in New York, returned to Fort Wayne to add to the vibrancy of the artistic community. Planck also been involved in productions for Arena Dinner Theatre and Bishop Luers High School, and teaches voice at Triple Threat Performing Arts Academy.Outstanding Advocate — Ryan Krueckeberg, nominated by Jasmine BejarKrueckeberg is a full-time employee at Lincoln Financial and President of Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana. Krueckeberg has served as Chair of the Hobnobben Film Festival and is a Cinema Center Board Member. Krueckebergpenned his advocacy for arts and culture in an article that appeared in the Journal Gazette. He also is a recipient of Business Weekly’s 40 Under 40 Award.Artist of the Year – Metavari, nominated by Craig NixMetavari is an American electronic music project led by Nathaniel David Utesch. Metavari has toured nationally, including an appearance at the South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas. Locally, Metavari partnered with the Cinema Center for a collaborative event with the film Metropolis. Metavari accompanied the film shown at Cinema Center, which with a live, originally composed musical score.Outstanding Collaboration – Embassy Theatre Foundation and Blue Jacket, nominated by Embassy TheatreThe Embassy Theatre and Blue Jacket initiated a partnership in 2017. The Embassy Theatre provides Blue Jacket clients job opportunitiesand experiences with the performing arts, and Blue Jacket clients give their time to maintain the condition of the historic theatre. Blue Jacket provides education, training, and opportunities to any disadvantaged person who is striving to earn a second chance at gainful employment.Margaret Ann Keegan Award for Arts Education — Vicki Junk-Wright, nominated by Parkview HealthJunk-Wright is an art teacher who connected with Parkview Health through her projectMurosity, which gathered local artists together to bring art into the hospital. She was instrumental in forming the Healing Arts at Parkview Health, integrating literary, movement, music and visual arts into patient care. As a Visual Artist in Residence for Healing Arts, Junk-Wright teaches patients, families, caregivers, and the community the healing power of art through creative expression.Volunteer of the Year — Raquel Kline, nominated by Fort Wayne Museum of ArtKline is a board member of the Fort Wayne Museum of Art and has served on the Dia de los Muertos committee for 6 years. Kline is a native Nicaraguan who has bridged the language barrier for the Latino community by providing pro bono translation and interpretation services, bilingual tours, and through the Language Services Network. Kline created a partnership between Fort Wayne Museum of Art and Language Services Network for Welcoming Week 2017, a national movement held each September that seeks to illuminate the contributions of immigrants in our community and the importance of welcoming them to experience all that it has to offer. Kline organized interpreters for two free bilingual tours on Thursdays one week apart, one in Spanish-English and the other in Burmese-English.During the Arts United Awards, Arts United also acknowledged the recipients of $861,200 in grant support administered by Arts United during the 2017 calendar year. Arts United President Susan Mendenhall noted, “Last year, recipients of grants administered by Arts United connected more than 776,000 people to more than 23,000 arts activities,” concluding, “Arts and culture touches nearly every facet of our lives, and because of the individuals gathered here tonight, art is alive and well in Northeast Indiana.”Annual Operating Support Grants– $574,641 awarded ARCH Artlink Fort Wayne Ballet Fort Wayne Cinema Center Fort Wayne Civic Theatre Fort Wayne Dance Collective Fort Wayne Museum of Art Fort Wayne Philharmonic Fort Wayne Youtheatre Foundation for Art & Music in Education The History CenterAmplify Art! Crowdfunding Initiative, sponsored by Three Rivers Federal Credit Union — $28,427 awarded Fort Wayne Cinema Center — Blocknobben Fort Wayne Cinema Center – Spectator Lounge Second Screen Fort Wayne Derby Girls – Documentary by Joe Wood Indiana Center for Middle East Peace — The Andalusian Trail Middle Waves Music Festival — Vibe Tribe Vincent Village — Art LabNonprofit Art Internship Initiative, sponsored by Lincoln Financial Foundation — $30,000 in grants for paid internships ARCH – Historic Preservation Specialist Artlink – Education and Outreach Internship Arts United – Graphic Design Internship Arts United – Technical Theatre Internship FAME – FAME Festival Internship Fort Wayne Cinema Center – Graphic Design Internship Fort Wayne Civic Theatre – Technical Production Internship Fort Wayne Dance Collective – Arts Administration and Event Production Internship Fort Wayne Museum of Art – Curatorial Internships Fort Wayne Philharmonic – Marketing and Development Internship Fort Wayne Youtheatre – Administration Internship The History Center – Historical Collection/Education Program InternshipRenaissance Fund Capital Grants — $10,000 awarded in 2017 Fort Wayne Museum of Art — Skylight MaintenanceIndiana Arts Commission Arts Operating Support, supported by the Indiana General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts — $136,136 awarded all for One productions Artlink Audiences Unlimited Cinema Center Creative Arts Council of Wells County, Inc. Fort Wayne Ballet Fort Wayne Children’s Choir Fort Wayne Civic Theatre Fort Wayne Dance Collective Fort Wayne Philharmonic Fort Wayne Youtheatre Foundation for Art and Music In Education (FAME) Heartland Sings Unity Performing Arts FoundationIndiana Arts Commission Arts Project Support, supported by the Indiana General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts — $82,000 awarded ACRES Land Trust – 200 Year Ecological Reflection Bishop Dwenger Music Boosters – Establishing Instrumental Music Program Children’s Choir of Huntington County – 2017-2018 Concert Series Easter Seals Arc of Northeast Indiana – Art Adventures Indiana Center for Middle East Peace – Ali Paris, Qanounist LaFontaine Arts Council — Arts in Education Programming Miami County Historical Society – Cole Porter Festival Mihsihkinaahkwa Pow Wow – 2017 Pow Wow in Columbia City North Adams Arts Council – Decatur Sculpture Tour North Manchester Civic Symphony South – A Family Portrait from the Civil War Purdue University (IPFW) – Shruti Indian Performance Series Science Central – Full STEAM Ahead St. John the Baptist Catholic School – Live Arts Experiences 2017-2018 Swiss Heritage Society — Berne Heritage Festival The Bach Collegium – The Bach Collegium Presents, 2017-2018 The History Center – 2017 Miami Indian Heritage Days United Way of Adams County — KekiongaFestival University of Saint Francis School of Creative Arts – Jesters 2018-2018Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne, Inc. is a non-profit united arts fund and local arts agency that serves the communities of northeast Indiana by fueling the momentum of more than 70 arts, culture and quality of life initiatives each year. Arts United’s strategic investments position arts and culture organizations to achieve higher levels of excellence and quality, to improve access to the arts for all community members and to support regional priorities for growth and development.