2008 Award Winners

SPOTLIGHT ACE: The Sousa Archives (American Music Month) (video profile)

Part of the mission of the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music at the University of Illinois is to share an historic music and instrument collection with the public. The Center initiated American Music Month, recognized in 2you004 at the state and federal level and celebrated each November. The goal of these annual music celebrations is not only to produce a series of quality concerts, performance lectures and exhibitions for the community, but to revitalize national attention on America's music heritage and establish the University and its Library's archival collections as active partners with Champaign-Urbana's vital arts community.

CREATIVE COMMUNITY SERVICE ACE: Patrick Harness (video profile)

Patrick Harness has contributed enormously to grassroots efforts to raise awareness of the art that lives in Champaign County. He is a firm believer in the strength that comes with collaboration and in the betterment of the community through the arts. A prolific painter, Patrick regularly includes works in the annual Krannert Art Museum Petals and Paintings benefit to support the museum's exhibitions and educational programming, and the Artists Against AIDS benefit exhibition. He is an active member and volunteer with 40 North | 88 West, and has worked with a variety of local service committees, including the Urbana subcommittee of the Boneyard Arts Festival.

EDUCATION ACE: Brian Hagy (video profile)

Brian Hagy is the founder and Artistic Director of The Prompting Theatre, a group which stages theatrical performances written and acted by actors with developmental disabilities who are students at the Development Services Center in Champaign. He directs an annual Street Theatre Festival in Urbana in association with the Boneyard Arts Festival and is a Core Player with the Zoo Theatre Improvisational theatre group. Brian has offered people with developmentally disabilities of all ages the opportunity to become involved in the dramatic arts that would have otherwise been unavailable to them.

ADVOCACY ACE: Mike Ross (video profile)

Mike Ross, Executive Director of Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, is deeply committed to embracing the arts. He has been an extraordinarily effective proponent of the power of the arts to impact all aspects of the lives of Champaign County residents, and is incoming Chairman of the Board of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters. Mike is also involved with the American Arts Alliance, the Illinois Arts Alliance and the Composers Conference at Wellesley College. He attributes his experience as a professional classical, jazz and rock musician and his interest in the literary and visual arts as major influences on the creative and collaborative nature of his work in arts administration.

MEDIA ACE | Rantoul Press/Ian Wang (video profile)

Dr. Ian Wang has contributed to the Rantoul Press for the past year, writing over fourteen articles in his column "Art Equals Life" highlighting more than 30 local artists and tying in social, historical and political issues. His coverage continues to elevate the visibility and awareness of the arts for residents of Rantoul and beyond. Ian has been an active arts patron, curator, collector and promoter for many years in Champaign County, serving most recently as President of the Board of the Spurlock Museum at the University of Illinois. The Rantoul Press serves residents of Rantoul and a variety of outlying communities.

BUSINESS ACE: Precision Graphics/Jeff Mellander (video profile)

Jeff Mellander founded Precision Graphics in 1977, providing publishers with technical illustrations, charts and graphs for textbooks. They have one of the largest illustration staffs in the Midwest and cultivate numerous opportunities and relationships that support Champaign County artists and arts organizations. Their leadership in the local arts community includes offering a mentoring program for students of the Parkland College Graphic Design and Digital Media programs, corporate support for the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, the Parkland Art Gallery and Planetarium, and by hosting receptions and openings for the Boneyard Arts Festival, Artists Against Aids and other festivals.

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT: Carl and Nadja Altstetter (video profile)

For years, Nadja and Carl Altstetter have been the backbone of the C-U Symphony, lending the organization their time and talents as organizers, advocates, fundraisers and performers. The Alstetters have been recruiters and cultivators of an ever-expanding group of new supporters and friends for the symphony; Nadja, serving on the Guild Board and originating and leading a long string of creative fundraising projects, while Carl has led the expansion of the orchestra's contacts throughout the business and civic communities as Chairman of the Symphony Board. They have also served as co-presidents of the Central Illinois Chapter of the National Society of Arts and Letters and have organized countless competitions and showcase events for the organization.