2011 Award Winners

ADVOCATE ACE: James Barham (watch video)

James is the owner of Barham Benefit Group, est. 1997, and created indi go artist co-op in 2009. James was born in Champaign but has lived in California and Hawaii. Upon his return from Hawaii in 1992, he decided to become more involved in his community and has been on the board of the IETC, Crisis Nursery, The Reading Group, Ambucs, Girl Scouts Green Meadow Council, and the Champaign Public Library Foundation. He is currently serving on The Tony Noel Memorial Golf committee, the Public Art League, and the Swann Special Care Development Board. He also was an elected member of the Champaign Park Board and during his 6-year term he served on the board of CU Special Recreation, the Illinois Park & Recreation Association and the National Recreation & Park Association legislative committees.

ARTIST ACE: Kathleen Everingham (watch video)

Kathleen is a lifelong musician; she began classical training on violin at the age of seven. She learned piano and guitar in her teens, and now also plays many traditional rhythm instruments. She was introduced to American Folk music when she moved to CU in 1977. She, along with several other dedicated folk enthusiasts, were instrumental in the creation of the Urbana Country Dancers. This group functioned as a center for a Folk community and has continued to thrive and grow well beyond its founding. Her current group is Big Bluestem, and (as have all her previous groups) they strive for excellence in interpreting and performing traditional music. They play songs and instrumental music that draw from a wide range of American styles, traditions, and history. She has been the advocate of her group to play in many different venues, bringing folk music to a wide range of audiences. Their performances help to preserve such music and educate their diverse audiences about differing folk styles. Her music helps bring together a strong community.

VOLUNTEER ACE: Hiram Paley (watch video)

Hiram Paley, Professor Emeritus in the University of Illinois Mathematics department, was elected Urbana's second Democratic mayor in 1973. Hiram developed an interest in photography in the Fall of 1980 when he acquired a used Minolta SLR camera and took a darkroom course in photography at Parkland College. He joined the Champaign County Camera Club in the Spring of 1981. Since then, he served in a variety of positions, including the Presidency for several years and the Editor of its Newsletter. He and his wife Jean are also members of the Bloomington-Normal Koda Roamers Camera Club, and he was President of CICCA from November of 2004 through November of 2006. In 2001, Hiram approached the Urbana Park District and the News-Gazette about becoming partners in the Best In Show Photographic Print Competition. After dedicating 10 years to the Best In Show Competition, Hiram recently passed the Chair baton to photographer Chris Main.

BUSINESS ACE: Shared Space Artist Co-Op (watch video)

Believing in the concept that there ought to be a place where every artist has the opportunity to share their creative spirit and display their work in a setting which provides encouragement and acceptance to local artists, Susan Pryde took over the Shared Space Artists Co-op in downtown Urbana. Through encouragement, time, personal energy, and dedication she built upon that small seed and over the months expanded the gallery space, adding 5 new display rooms, a workshop and seminar room, and has held numerous educational workshops featuring the talent of local artists who have been underrepresented in the Champaign-Urbana gallery scene. Over 50 local artists now show their work at the gallery and benefit from sales and recognition. Membership in the Gallery continues to grow, and Susan envisions a permanent outdoor space in downtown Urbana dedicated to showcasing the work of local sculptors and artists.

TEACHER ACE: Mark Rubel (watch video)

Since 1980, Mark Rubel has made about 1,000 recordings at his Pogo Studio in Champaign, where he has recorded Hum, Alison Krauss, Rascal Flatts, Adrian Belew, Melanie, and many others. Having taught audio at the college level to more than 4,000 students since 1985, Mr. Rubel now serves as Audio Director for Eastern Illinois University's Doudna Fine Arts Center, where he teaches Audio and Recording Technology, the History of Rock, and works on developing new audio and music business curricula. Mark travels about doing panels and workshops, including a 2010 AES panel with Al Schmitt, Ed Cherney and Elliot Scheiner. He has been featured in various books and magazines, interviewed Les Paul, Terry Manning and others for Tape Op Magazine, and acts as a consultant, beta tester and legal expert witness. Mark's thrash oldies band, Captain Rat and the Blind Rivets, has been rocking since 1980. He is ridiculously happy cultivating songs, students, and cats along with his beloved and saintly wife Nancy.

STUDENT ACE: Caitlin Caruso-Dobbs (watch video)

Caitlin Caruso-Dobbs is a senior at the High School of Saint Thomas More in Champaign. She has performed in many professional venues both locally and regionally. She has been performing since her first musical at the age of five, and has barely stopped since! Her favorite roles include Eponine in Les Miserables, Marian in The Music Man, Mayzie LaBird in Seussical, Belle in Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella in Into the Woods, and Sarah Brown in Guys and Dolls. She has been working with her beloved mentor and coach, Dan Perrino, on cabaret-style programs for over three years, and has performed with her accompanist Mr. Rick Murphy and partner Annie Rong in a variety of places, including The Retired Teachers Association, The Champaign and Urbana Country Clubs, The Rotary Clubs, The Half-Century Club, Stage 5 at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, and The Temple Theater in Viroqua, Wisconsin. She is still undecided about what lies ahead for her after high school, but dreams of going to school in New York City to pursue a career in musical theater.

LIFETIME ACE: Kimiko Gunji (watch video)

Kimiko Gunji is Associate Professor Emeritus in the School of Art and Design at the University of Illinois. Her academic degrees include a B.A., Fukuoka Women's College, Japan (English Literature), 1964, a M.S., University of Illinois (Library Science), 1971, and a M.A., University of Illinois (Asian Studies), 1979. Teaching in Champaign County since the mid-1970s, Kimiko’s unique educational approach to the cultural arts is exemplified in the mission and programming of Japan House. Japan House provides an academic, cultural, and natural setting for promoting an appreciation of Japanese art, culture, and related Asian cultural concepts. Built around the concept of the Way of Tea, with three separate tearooms, the Japanese-style building is a center for teaching and learning. However, the overarching mission is to promote peace through cultural tolerance. Kimiko believes strongly that learning about another culture greatly increases tolerance and respect for all cultures.