Arts Quincy honored the recipients of the 2018-19 George M. Irwin Art Awards during its annual meeting with an award ceremony on Wednesday, May 1 at Quincy Museum.
“Quincy is full of talented artists and performers enhancing our daily experiences with arts and culture across the city,” said Executive Director Laura Sievert. “Through the work of these dedicated and inspiring individuals and groups, the arts have become more accessible, visible, interactive and integrated into the lives of our residents and visitors.”
These awards are designed to recognize the hard work and dedication of these outstanding individuals and organizations. This year, several new categories were added to recognize the many roles each person or organization plays in the promotion of the fine arts.
Winners of the George M. Irwin Art Awards are chosen by a committee based on criteria that demonstrates impact, leadership, engagement, and innovation throughout the community.
George M Irwin Art Awards: Sponsored by WGEM, The Quincy Herald Whig and the Oakley Lindsay Foundation
Outstanding Fine Arts Teacher of the Year: City of Quincy
Keith Wiemelt – The Salvation Army Kroc Center: This award is given to an educator that has made a significant contribution in any artistic discipline through outstanding educational programming and other leadership activities. Keith Wiemelt is a native of Quincy and graduated from Quincy Notre Dame High School in 1997 and received a Bachelors of Science degree from Quincy University in Music Education in 2002.
Keith was hired as the Education and Fine Arts Specialist at the Salvation Army Kroc Center in June of 2018. He was previously the director of Bands at Quincy Notre Dame High School from 2011-2018. He taught from 2002-2011 at the Ralls County R-II School District in Center, Missouri. Besides teaching, Keith can be seen conducting the Quincy Park Band, playing with the Heidelberg German Band, Quincy Community Theatre, 12th Street Brass Quintet and the Muddy River Opera Company.
Keith and his wife Bonnie have been married 10 years are the proud parents of 9 -year-old son Emmett, 7-year-old daughter Belle and 2 year old son Gideon.
Outstanding Fine Arts Teacher of the Year: Adams County
Lexi Brumbaugh: This award is given to an educator that has made a significant contribution in any artistic discipline through outstanding educational programming and other leadership activities. Lexi has taught art at Unity High School in Mendon for 10 years. She has served as cheer coach, dance coach, class sponsor and is currently the yearbook sponsor and art club sponsor. Lexi has applied for and won numerous grants that have been used to purchase art supplies, a kiln and take field trips. Lexi is involved with Quincy Art Center as a member and instructor and has volunteered with Q-Fest. She is married and has two children and resides in Quincy.
Arts Access Leader of the Year
Carlos Fernandez – WGEM/QMI: This award is given to a person making a significant effort to increase fine arts access and connect existing programs with people in under-served parts of the community including those who are living below the poverty line, the differently-abled, military veterans, the elderly and minorities. Carlos has 45 years of experience in broadcasting. As the Vice-President and General Manager for Quincy Broadcasting, he oversees the day to day operations of the WGEM stations including NBC, FOX, CW and MeTV, 105FM and ESPN 1440/98.9FM, as well as a website and mobile platforms. He has resided in Quincy since 2007. His career began in 1974 as a studio camera operator in Topeka, KS. Over 13 years he was promoted and led to become the station manager in Columbia, MO. He served as a television consultant for several stations in the US and abroad. Carlos was also a lead sports cinematographer for NCAA for 11 years and worked on a number of live events for the top US TV networks.
Carlos has been actively involved in professional and community organizations throughout his career including terms on the ABC Affiliates Board, President of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce, Executive Board Member of the Austin Chamber of Commerce, President of the Missouri and Illinois Broadcasters Association. In his years in Quincy, he has been a co-founder and the Chairman of the Great River Honor Flight Board, served and serves on a number of boards including Quincy Community Theatre, Chaddock, American Red Cross, Advocacy Network for Children, United Way, Quincy Chamber of Commerce, GREDF, Quincy Parks Foundation, Junior Achievement, Looking for Lincoln, Quincy’s Fourth of July celebration and Arts Quincy.
Arts Volunteer of the Year
Kelsey Deters – The District: This award is given to a volunteer who has consistently supported the arts through a commitment of personal time, energy and devotion. Kelsey is the Assistant Director of The District in Quincy. Thanks to her mother, Beth, Kelsey has been involved at Quincy Community Theatre almost since birth, volunteering backstage, on stage, and in front of house roles. Kelsey attended Quincy Senior High School where she was an active member of everything she could be that had to do with theatre and music. She is on the Board of Directors for the Quincy Civic Music Association, the Steering Committee and Marketing Committee for Q-FEST, and in fall of 2018 she competed for in the Battle for the Baton Fundraiser to benefit Encore Quincy and the Quincy Symphony. Kelsey also loves to volunteer for Arts Quincy. “AQ is such a wonderful organization that helps make sure that everyone in our community has access to the arts,” she said.
In her free time, Kelsey enjoys traveling and spending time with her friends, family, dogs, and boyfriend, Brodie (who she met at the Arts Quincy Annual Meeting last year).
“I am so proud of the thriving arts community in Quincy,” she said. “I would not be the person I am today without the tremendous amount of exposure to the arts I have received my entire life in Quincy.”
Arts Nonprofit of the Year
Washington Theater: This award is given to a nonprofit organization that has made a substantial impact on the cultural development of this area demonstrated through exceptional artistic achievement, outstanding programming or other leadership activities. Named for the historic park which it faces, the Washington Theater opened in 1924 in downtown Quincy. It was one of many vaudeville and movie houses on Hampshire Street, and the only one that is still standing. Over the years, the theater was sold, fell into disrepair and was eventually donated to the City of Quincy. The Washington Theater Redevelopment Commission, established in 2004, created Friends of The Washington Theater, a volunteer nonprofit organization, to help raise money to return the landmark movie palace to its former splendor.
With financial support from the Quincy community and others interested in the preservation of historical theaters, the commission is actively generating funds to enable the project to move forward. The theater hosts special events throughout the year to raise funds.
Today, the commission is working toward the goal of commissioning an architectural plan that will reveal the intended use, design, calculation of cost, building process and other important documentation. Once in-hand, major fundraising will begin. Projected costs are estimated between 5 and 8 million dollars depending on the scope of the project.
Major fundraisers this year include Free Fallin: Tom Petty Tribute Concert on May 4, Music to Remember on September 27, Rocky Horror Picture Show on October 27 and a Trivia Night scheduled for September.
To learn more about the Washington Theater visit quincywashingtontheater.org.
Philanthropic Leader of the Year
Exchange Club of Quincy: This award is given to a local business or individual making a financial commitment to the arts in Adams County. The Exchange Club of Quincy was vital to the success of Arts Quincy’s Made in America Veterans Art Program in 2018 and 2019. The Quincy Exchange Club sponsor activities under the organization’s Program of Service: Americanism, Youth Programs, Community Service, and its National Project, the prevention of child abuse. Each year, Quincy benefits from the promotion of pride in our great country, college scholarships, youth mentoring, service to the underprivileged, and other services tailored to serve the needs of its citizens.
The Quincy Exchange Club’s Flags of Honor Program helps promote the proper and more frequent flying of the flag in our community. Recently you may have seen their 1000 Flag Field of Honor display in Madison Park on Veterans Day. It’s through the funds raised through this program that they donated to help underwrite Arts Quincy’s Made in America: Veterans Art Program.