2006 Award Winners

EDUCATION ACE: Dr. William Patterson

Dr. Patterson currently serves as Associate Director of the African-American Studies & Research Program at the University of Illinois where his work focuses on linking higher education institutions with public schools, corporations and social service organizations. He is investigating the development of the Center for the Study of Hip Hop Culture , a research, teaching, and service learning initiative. He is a leader in the fight to engage young people in this community through the arts. He is the creator of many important programs such as Rhyme Clinic, All Girlz Radio, SPEAK Cafe and has used all media, including film, to help young people document their stories. 

MEDIA ACE: WEFT

WEFT 90.1FM has been broadcasting to listeners of East Central Illinois since September 25, 1981. Now celebrating its 25th anniversary, this non-commercial, non-profit, listener-supported and volunteer operated radio station, has always held a firm commitment to showcasing a wide array of cultural arts programming. WEFT hosts spoken word, radio theatre, local music sessions, in addition to music across the global spectrum and it airs PSA’s and features about arts-related endeavors. For 25 years it has served as a true cultural resource for its listeners.

ARTS PARTNER ACE: Janet Soesbe

Janet has served as Community Program Coordinator for the Urbana Park District for more than 11 years. Through this position, Janet has provided countless opportunities for residents to participate in arts-related programs and activities. She started the Urbana Park District’s Summer Arts Camp, and she has been the lead staff for the Summer Special Events and organizes the UPD’s Dance programs. She annually produces the Youth Summer Theatre Program, which involves hundreds of children in a musical theater experience. 

BUSINESS ACE: Main Street Bank and Trust

Main Street Bank has made significant contributions to the arts in Champaign County, both in terms of financial resources and also through employees’ time and energies. The bank has steadily increased its contributions to arts organizations each year and now strongly believes in the value of a vibrant arts community in the counties in which it does business. The bank has encouraged its employees to be involved in the arts locally and has fostered a supportive environment for the arts at the office. For example, the bank is currently developing a pilot program whereby rotating works of art by independent artists would be on display in the bank’s 4th floor conference room.

COMMUNITY ADVOCATE ACE: Jenny Southlynn

Jenny Southlynn has been an editor, teacher, painter and arts advocate in Champaign County for over 30 years. She has been the Arts and Entertainment publisher for four print publications and one on-line publication. Her accomplishments are too numerous to mention, but a few highlights include developing the Boneyard Arts Festival, coordinating the Call to Arts Open Critique and advocating for the arts through her involvement with numerous organizations and media. 

CREATIVE COMMUNITY SERVICE ACE: Andy Warfel

Andy Warfel’s professional resume is impressive indeed. He has designed television shows, product launches, press events and major concert tours across the country and abroad. He has designed shows for the New York Stage both Off-Off , Off and On Broadway, and has created permanent installations for some of the biggest names in corporate America. We are so lucky that Andy and his family relocated to Champaign County for locally his presence has been felt as well. Andy has volunteered or donated his time and services to such organizations as 40 North, One Main Development, the C-U Ballet, the Station Theatre and many more. Andy is always passionate and willing to give of his time, energy and creativity to the arts in Champaign County.

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT ACE: Rick Orr

In addition to the artistic beauty that Rick brings to Champaign County in his role as owner of Rick Orr Florists, he has tirelessly produced and directed at the Station Theatre, often under extremely humbling circumstances. Rick has fostered a true company atmosphere at the Station yielding some memorable highlights such as Mark Robert’s world premiere of “Welcome to Tolono.” Rick has expended enormous effort to provide a venue for challenging and thought-provoking theatre.