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Congratulations to our Governor's Arts Awards recipients!

Arkansas Arts Council - Friday, November 16, 2018

We are excited to announce the recipients of the 2019 Governor’s Arts Awards!

The annual awards program recognizes individuals and corporations for their outstanding contributions to the arts in Arkansas. Recipients are nominated by the public, then selected by an independent panel of arts professionals.

Recipients of the 2019 awards will be honored at a ceremony this next spring! Awardees are:

Arts Community Development Award – Steve Clark, Fort Smith

Steve Clark is the CEO and founder of Propak Corp., a national logistics and supply chain management company. Steve is also the founder of 64.6 Downtown, a nonprofit organization created to drive cultural and economic development to downtown Fort Smith. Since 2015, the organization has brought urban and contemporary art to Arkansas, including a weeklong, annual event called The Unexpected. The event brings in renowned artists to create public art – typically largescale murals on buildings, sculptures and art installations in Fort Smith. The event has led to a resurgence in development in downtown Fort Smith, as well as an increase in music and performing arts events throughout the year. Steve’s efforts also have led to the creation of Garrison Commons, a pocket park and open-air gathering venue in Fort Smith that includes a small stage for live events, movie nights, food trucks and eating areas.

 

Arts in Education Award – The Center for Children and Youth, Fayetteville

The Center for Children and Youth (CCY) at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville was established with a generous gift from the Windgate Foundation in 2008. Since then, CCY has implemented numerous arts integration outreach programs around the state. The ARTeacher Fellows Program provides intensive professional development to non-art secondary teachers on ways to incorporate the arts into their curriculum. CCY also presents the annual ARTful Teaching Conference for current and future educators to demonstrate the power of the arts to develop an engaging learning environment. CCY has partnerships with Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, The Walton Arts Center, the Brown Chair in Literacy, Arkansas A+ Schools and the Thea Foundation of Little Rock.

Corporate Sponsorship of the Arts Award – Murphy USA, El Dorado

Murphy USA has over 1,400 fuel stations in 26 states but is based in El Dorado. Part of the company’s mission is to improve the quality of life in its hometown. Murphy USA supports local organizations like the South Arkansas Arts Center, an organization that has led the way in empowering artists andenriching the city’s cultural opportunities. Over the past five summers, Murphy USA has contributed at least $100,000 to support the center’s summer musicals. Giving back to the community is a commitment Murphy USA has made to its employees, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders to support sustainable growth in El Dorado and encourage volunteerism among employees.

Folklife Award – Oxford American, Little Rock

Oxford American is a nonprofit arts organization and national magazine featuring Southern writing and documenting the complexity and vitality of the American South. In 2013, the Oxford American helped create the restaurant and cultural venue South on Main at 1304 S. Main St. in Little Rock. Oxford American has presented hundreds of concerts and other events, much of those for free, at the restaurant and throughout Central Arkansas over the last six years. The magazine has featured the original work of many distinguished authors, while also discovering and launching the careers of the most promising writers in the region. In 2017, the Oxford American launched the Jeff Baskin Writers Fellowship, which provides financial support for an emerging writer to complete a debut book project during a nine-month residency in Central Arkansas. The organization has won four National Magazine Awards, including the 2016 Award for General Excellence in the category of Literature, Science and Politics, and other honors since it began publication in 1992. The Oxford American is published in partnership with the University of Central Arkansas.

Individual Artist Award – Marjorie Williams-Smith, Little Rock

Marjorie Williams-Smith is a nationally known silverpoint artist who has dedicated 30 years to this detailed drawing technique. Silverpoint is a delicate form of drawing that allows tiny particles of silver to be left on a prepared surface. The effect of light on the silver lines creates a shimmering quality that is different from other drawing mediums. Flowers and nature are the subject matter of most of Marjorie’s work. In addition, she created the design for the Congressional Gold Medal awarded to the Little Rock Nine in 1999. The medals were presented by U.S. President Bill Clinton and members of Congress in a special ceremony to honor the historic significance of the African American high school students who helped integrate an Arkansas school in 1957. She recently retired from the University of Arkansas in Little Rock after 33 years as an art professor. Marjorie’s work had been featured in selected group and solo shows throughout the U.S. Marjorie continues to present lectures and workshops on silverpoint drawing.

 

Judges Recognition Award – Anthony Tidwell, Hot Springs

Anthony Tidwell is an artist, barber, mentor and an educator for at-risk youth in Hot Springs. His barber skills earned him the nickname of “Cutwell.” In 2014, he founded Cutwell 4 Kids (C4K) in Hot Springs. C4K is a nonprofit, hands-on art program that allows children to play, create art, develop self-esteem, build confidence and learn coping skills to use in their daily lives. The C4K studio is in a renovated space previously occupied by his grandparents’ barber shop and restaurant. The sixth annual fundraiser event, “Birth of an Artist,” raised more than $7,000 last year to support the continuation of C4K. Drawing inspiration from a traumatic time in his life, Anthony earned a degree in early childhood education and trained as a mental health para-professional. He has worked at Birch Tree Communities, where he assisted people with mental illness, and as an art teacher for the after-school program at the Arts Center of the Grand Prairie in Stuttgart. Besides being a full-time barber, Anthony teaches an after-school art class to youth in crisis in Hot Springs.

 

Patron Award – Jim and Joyce Faulkner, Little Rock

James H. Faulkner and Joyce Faulkner are longtime supporters of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. Their generous gift of $6 million helped to create the campus’s Jim & Joyce Faulkner Performing Arts Center, which was built by converting the university’s Old Field House building into a state-of-the-art performance venue with over 500 seats. In the 2017-2018 school year, more than 13,000 visitors attended performances and events at the facility. Jim Faulkner, who is director of First Security Bankshares, began his career in the entertainment industry. In 1985, Faulkner founded Falcon Publications, a company that produced Take One, which was a video entertainment magazine. The publication was the first of its type in the nation with a circulation that reached up to 1.5 million subscribers per month. He started several other companies, including Falcon Productions, which was the state’s first video production company, and Jimco Inc., which was a firm that created and sold bank premiums nationwide. The center is the couple’s legacy project that showcased their appreciation of the school and local arts, but the Faulkners also have served on other arts-related boards, including The Arkansas Rep Theater and The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, and are sponsors of the Little Rock Winds, which is a group dedicated to woodwind instrumental music.

Lifetime Achievement Award – Billie Jo Starr, Fayetteville

Billie Jo Starr was born in Oklahoma. She moved with her family to Fayetteville, where she attended elementary and secondary schools before graduating from the University of Arkansas. She has been active in community and educational causes in Northwest Arkansas and statewide. She served as regional fundraising chairwoman for the Walton Arts Center and joined forces with Helen R. Walton to secure funding to complete the $19 million performing and visual arts center. The center now is celebrating its 27th anniversary. Billie was honored with the Walton Art Center’s Helen R. Walton Award. She served as executive director of the North Arkansas Symphony (now Symphony of North Arkansas) and was a member of the board of directors for the Walton Arts Center Foundation. She chaired the Board of Directors of the Walton Arts Center for two terms. She now serves as president of the Starr Foundation, a family foundation dedicated to arts and education. Billie is a proud grandmother and great-grandmother. She said one of her most rewarding accomplishments is the sight of school buses parked at the Walton Arts Center. Those buses bring children from Fayetteville and surrounding area schools to performances and educational programs. Billie says, “Our family wants every child to have the opportunity to participate and enjoy the arts." Her philosophy is that children are the future and cultivating an appreciation for arts in children ensures that the arts will continue to enrich the world.