Since 1983, the Missouri Arts Council and the State of Missouri have been honoring our state’s arts heroes—the people who make the arts happen. The annual Missouri Arts Awards celebrate people, organizations, and communities that have made profound and lasting contributions to the cultural and artistic climate of the state. Honorees are selected by an independent panel in six categories: Arts Education, Arts Organization, Creative Community, Individual Artist, Leadership in the Arts, and Philanthropy.
The 2016 Missouri Arts Awards were presented in a ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda in Jefferson City on February 10, 2016.
A special guest at the ceremony was Jane Chu, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Chairman Chu was an arts leader in Kansas City for nearly two decades, culminating in being named president and CEO of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in 2006, before being tapped in 2014 to lead the NEA.
The ceremony was preceded by a performance, sponsored by Missouri Citizens for the Arts, by the St. Joseph Community Chorus, led by Artistic Director Dr. Elise Hepworth. The chorus’s founding director, Frank D. Thomas, is the Arts Education honoree of the 2015 Missouri Arts Awards.
As always, the performance and the ceremony were free, and everyone was welcome to attend.
Enjoy the inspiring remarks by the honorees as well as by Jane Chu, First Lady Georganne Wheeler Nixon, and Department of Economic Development Director Mike Downing in this edited video of the ceremony.
Arts Education | Halcyone Ewalt Perlman
Dancer, teacher, director, and choreographer who for more than five decades has taught, inspired, and created original works for thousands of students from across Missouri and beyond through her Perlman-Stoy School of Ballet and its performing wing, Mid-Missouri Dance Theatre
Arts Organization | STAGES St. Louis
Musical theatre company every year producing Broadway-quality shows for 50,000 patrons, educating thousands of students at its Performing Arts Academy, employing hundreds of professionals from actors to designers, and reaching out via programs such as its Urban Arts Initiative and Access the Arts
Creative Community | Community of Chillicothe
North central regional hub city with a flourishing array of artists, art lovers, nonprofit organizations, and businesses that partner to create resources such as 20 huge outdoor murals, the Sliced Bread Jam Bluegrass Festival, Chautauqua in the Park, and an upcoming downtown arts center
Individual Artist | John L. Schaefer, Kansas City
Organist and director of the vocal and handbell choirs of Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral since 1976, who also brings music to the entire community by creating concerts with local, national, and international musicians and by supporting the arts as a mentor, board member, philanthropist, and writer
Leadership in the Arts | Jo Mueller, Joplin
Executive director 2003-2015 of the George A. Spiva Center for the Arts who transformed the center into a vibrant and accessible cultural anchor for the region and a powerhouse for economic development with year-round exhibitions, events, and hands-on education programs for all ages
No award for Philanthropy was presented in 2016