And The Ardee Awards Go To

Rochester Arts Council Presentation

Event Photography Provided by Dean Riggott

The Rochester Arts Council celebrated Excellence in the Arts through its inaugural event “The Fete.” attended by hundreds of Arts supporters.

A vibrant arts scene is essential to the quality of life and economic growth of a community, but vibrancy does not happen in a vacuum. It results from people working together for the greater artistic good. It was time to recognize those who make our cultural scene what it is. The Fete was designed to do just that.

Named in recognition of Mayor Ardell F. Brede’s enduring support of the Arts, the Ardee Awards honor the very best in the visual and performing arts and humanities and those whose support through leadership, education and collaboration have had a significant impact in these endeavors.

The 2013 Ardee recipients are:

Mayor’s Award for Public Art

Charles Eugene Gagnon: world-renowned sculptor who passed away April 28, 2012 leaving his mark on Rochester through his iconic sculpture “The Peace Fountain” which resides on the Peace Plaza. “Chuck’s legacy of beautiful inspiring bronze sculptures will always speak of love, hope and peace to present and future generations.”

Leadership in the Arts Award

Jane Belau: An artist, actress, award-winning costumer, vocalist, musician, Gonda Singers mentor, songwriter, jewelry designer, Governor appointee to the MN State Arts Board where she fought to increase funding for SE MN Arts, board member of arts organizations, former consultant for McKnight Foundation, KSMQ subject, host of an award-winning cable access TV show, and Rochester’s First Poet Laureate. 

Arts Collaboration Award

Diversity Council and Rochester Art 

Center: Nominated for Question Bridge-Black Males project, exploring challenging issues within the Black male community through transmedia conversation among black men from different American society perspectives.  Facilitated group discussions regarding project content followed, challenging life experiences and stereotypes and opening up opportunities for additional community-wide engagement.

Outstanding Artist Award

Judy Onofrio: Renowned international artist of sculpture, whose national exhibits include the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA).  She is the recipient of the Distinguished Artist Award from the McKnight Foundation. 42 years ago she initiated the Art Center’s Total Arts Day Camp that continues today.

Excellence in Arts Education

Daved Driscoll: Founder of Words Players Theatre filling a need for youth theater in the home school community. Under his tutelage, Words Players has become a formidable presence, creating an educational environment where learning is hands-on, mentoring is constant, collaboration is paramount, and youth contribute in all production facets, including Shakespeare in the Park. 

Outstanding Greater Rochester Arts Award

Commonweal Theatre Company: 25 years as a theatre that began as a bold dream. It is now a fully functioning professional theatre with resident ensemble members, Apprentice Artists and seasonal company members. Boasting a new theatrical venue, the Commonweal is a vibrant addition to the art scene in Lanesboro and SE MN.

Outstanding Volunteer in the Arts

Paul Skattum: He is synonymous with the Rep where he has been the set designer since 1991, technical advisor, promotional displays creator, prop master, and a talented actor. He works with students at local high schools developing their skills in stagecraft, and lends his designing talents to RCTC.

Youth in Arts Award

Bella Voce Young Women’s Choir:  Strives to inspire young women, through singing, to realize their highest potential to more broadly impact the world. Performing locally, nationally and internationally, they also raise awareness by yearly choosing a charity such as Breaking the Chains-to stop sex trafficking of young women.

People’s Choice Award

Rochester Civic Theatre: For its innovative arts programming including quality theatre, Americana Showcase, Poet’s Corner, Lobby Stage, Summer Concert Series on the Patio, Artists Happy Hours, Jazz Jam sessions and professional theatrical collaborations. 

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