2010 Award Winners

ARTS EDUCATION ACE: Robert Smith (watch video)

His presence in and advocacy for national as well as local arts experiences have not only impacted the lives of students, but has left a legacy of arts education that serves as a model for educators. As the music teacher at Booker T. Washington Elementary school, Bob gave his students amazing performance experiences, integrating the music with art and literature. Bob is the founder and director for The Community Arts Camp, has served on the Board of Directors for the Baroque Artists of Champaign-Urbana where he also performed as a stage director, soloist and ensemble singer. Bob has also served for the past ten years as the choir director of the Community United Church of Christ. Bob's most significant contribution has been his lasting influence on the children. His sincere passion for music education for all children is at the core of his very being. Said Dr. Susan Zola, Principal of Jefferson Middle School, "Bob Smith has created a legacy in the arts. Bob has an amazing energy that is contagious. His positive spirit, love of music, ability to engage young learners and vision for building community was noted by students and parents. Bob lives the love of music. He offered our children opportunities to explore, grow, and process life through the arts. Bob Smith, musician, mentor, teacher, artists, role model...He is a man with a great legacy.

ADVOCACY ACE: Anna Hochhalter (watch video)

From Anna's role as Public Arts Coordinator she has gone far beyond dher job requirement s to ensure that the public Arts Program became a robust powerhouse of education, advocacy, and inspiration to our community. Anna's personal commitment to excellence and inclusion in both the fields of Public Art and Community Engagement have creatively enriched our community. Her bright spirit, assertiveness and steadfast practice of doing things beautifully and well are an asset to all who speak up for art and imagination as cultural values. Anna's approach to the arts is insatiable curiosity and interest, critical inquiry and study, forward-thinking planning, detailed follow-through and always an eye on how her skills and experiences can benefit her community. Anna has helped leverage funding for the arts through collaborations with the business community (e.g. Urbana Business Association "Business Backs the Arts' initiative) and other funders. Urbana, is now home to one of the most vibrant arts scenes, in a small city, largely thanks to Anna's tireless advocacy and passion and unique ability to work well with a variety of stakeholders. She has held the position of Public Arts Coordinator for the City of Urbana since 2006. She serves on the Board of Directors for 40 North | 88 West, as well as the Board of the Illinois Green Business Association. Anna has conducted environmental programs for the Urbana Park District and has studied with the School for Designing a Society, a school that applied compositional tools from the arts to social problem-solving. Anna's formal training in the arts began at Interlochen Arts Academy between 1999 and 2002, where she studied visual art and classical guitar. Additional artistic training has included coursework at Western Washington University, Northland College, the School for Designing a Society, and the Bulgaria Folk Music and Dance Seminar in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Anna is a vocalist and saxophone player for the local band "Duke of Uke and His Novelty Orchestra." In August 2010, Anna began attending the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to obtain her Master's in Landscape Architecture, a field which will combine her passions and interests in creative design and environmental sustainability.

BUSINESS ACE: Michael's Catering (watch video)

A lover of the arts himself, Michael Carragher knew that for the arts to be appreciated and to live on from generation to generation, people have to gather to enjoy them and to raise funds to perpetuate and preserve them. Michael's Catering contributes significantly to different arts organizations including sculpture for the Champaign park District, restoration of the Virginia Theatre and WILL, the College of Media, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Krannert Art Museum , Spurlock Museum and the School of Music. Without this corporate support, the world-class performing arts, visual arts and facilities we enjoy in Champaign -- rare and amazing things to finding East Central Illinois- would not be what they are today. In 1984 Michael Carragher co-founded Michaels' Catering with two other business partners who eventually left to pursue other ventures. Michael Carragher kept with the business as president and hired Martin Kamerer in the business' fifth year. As Michaels' Catering gained a thriving and devoted customer base, the two worked successfully together in Champaign until Michael passed away in January 1, 2009 after batting brain cancer for 18 month. Since, Marty has brought new partners, David Jimenez and Steve Kovachevish, into the business. They pride themselves on keeping their work at Michaels' innovative and fun -- imagination and variety is behind everything they do. Although co-founder Michael Carragher has passed on, his personality and artistic flare live on in the success and style of his business.

CREATIVE COMMUNITY SERVICE ACE: Jonathan Sivier and Thomas Anderson (watch video)

Thomas Anderson and Jonathan Sivier have been outstandingly dedicated and steadfast volunteers, donating literally thousands of hours to sustain and promote CU's community Contra and English Country dances for over 20 years. They have been critical to the survival and growth of these groups and have been hugely influential in increasing community awareness, participation and support of them. American contra dances and English country dances provide opportunities for singles, couples, and families to meet and forge friendships and alliances in a recreational atmosphere that is simultaneously socially entertaining, physically active and vibrant with live music. These dances have immeasurably enriched our CU community, and attracted visitors from other cities and states to our community. Jonathan and Tom's perseverance, enthusiasm, humor, and commitment, vastly increased CU and surrounding communities' awareness, interest, and participation in American Contra and English Country community dances. Their interactions with dance groups and callers in other cities and states put CU dances on State and National dance schedules and attracted callers from elsewhere to come call for dances in CU; special CU dances such as the Jan Jam and the Illinois All-Weekend Barn Dance draw visitors from Chicago, Indianapolis, St. Paul, and St. Louis. Numerous CU residents owe a good measure of their physical health and emotional equilibrium to contra dancing... and more than a few owe their happy marriages to it.

MEDIA ACE: Community Concierge Magazine (watch video)

When George Amaya and his former partner Jim Pride, who is now retired, had a vision of a community spotlight magazine that would always present Champaign-Urbana at its best, Amaya knew highlighting the arts and the local arts community would be important in fulfilling the magazine's mission. That was more than seven years ago, and the magazine Amaya envisioned and now publishes, Community Concierge Magazine, has not strayed from that initial idea of fostering community pride by highlighting the positive elements found in Champaign-Urbana and celebrating the importance of the arts and local artists. The mission to promote the local community and its assets is not taken lightly at Community Concierge Magazine. Efforts are always focused on ways to let readers know that Champaign County is a pro-arts community. Through its quarterly publication, annual circulation of 90,000 magazines, and its consistent message that promotes the local arts and artists, Community Concierge Magazine provides a persistent and positive impact on the awareness of Champaign-Urbana's wealth in arts, culture, and entertainment.

SPOTLIGHT ACE: Pacifica Quartet (watch video)

Recognized for its virtuosity, exuberant performance style, and often daring repertory choices, the Pacifica Quartet has achieved international stature as one of the finest chamber ensembles performing today. Members of the Pacifica Quartet are Simin Ganatra, Sibbi Bernhardsson, Masumi Per Rostad, and Brandon Vamos. The Pacifica Quartet is the faculty quartet in residence at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Every article, performance review, interview or biography written about the Pacifica Quartet includes mention of the quartet's home and their appreciation for Urbana-Champaign. Simin, Sibbi, Masumi, and Brandon have embraced this community as their home and support the local arts community. They invest in the musical education of local youth by participating in the School of Music's Chamber Music Symposium. They are also committed to building the appeal and popularity of the Annual Allerton Barn Music Festival. The Pacifica Quartet appeared on the cover of the April 2006 edition of Gramophone magazine. In its lead article, the Pacifica was described as "one of the finest and most energetic quartets of the younger generation" and was the only American quartet on a list of "five new quartets you should know about." The Pacifica Quartet was named 2009 Ensemble of the Year by the esteemed publication Musical America, its highest honor for excellence and achievement in the arts. Pacifica Quartet's recording, "String Quartets One to Five," composed by Elliott Carter, was named among the 100 best classical CDs of all times by London's Daily Telegraph. The Pacifica Quartet won the 2009 Grammy Award for "Best Chamber Music Performance" and later that year was appointed quartet-in-residence at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT ACE: James Bier (watch video)

Beginning in 1999 James Bier has been a devoted volunteer at the University of Illinois Arboretum and Japan House. He designed and constructed the Japanese tea garden and Zen style rock garden surrounding Japan House, and has been committed to their maintenance and nurturing ever since. On any given day, regardless of the temperature, Jim is working outside pruning, weeding, and lovingly sustaining these gardens that provide the Champaign-Urbana and University communities with a cultural and natural setting for promoting an appreciation of Japanese culture. At 89 years young, James is a retired cartographer who has published more than 3000 thematic maps of all parts of the world for journals, test and trade books, atlases, and individual sheets. He has also published numerous map books including reference maps for the islands of Hawaii. He served 30 years as a staff cartographer at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, teaching undergraduate and graduate level classes in cartography for the geography department until his retirement in 1989. He and his wife Lorene live in Champaign.