2016 Award Winners

Advocate ACE Award – Mike Ingram, for his unwavering dedication, remarkable generosity, and passionate support of local musicians and the local music scene in addition to a profound consideration for social justice and inclusiveness in this community.

Artist ACE Award – Deke Weaver, for creating larger than life productions with local collaborators and open access for audiences while also being dedicated to showing that the arts can not only transform lives but also our relationship to the world around us.

Volunteer ACE Award – Pecha Kucha Night C-U, for the passion, teamwork, and dedication required to logistically present consistent large-scale creative events of the highest quality that reach, inspire, and enlighten a vast and diverse audience.

Business ACE Award – Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District (CUMTD), for their willingness to partner with local organizations and help create programs that celebrate and support local artists by bringing art and poetry into the lives of millions of riders each year.

Teacher ACE Award – Stacey Gross, for 20+ years of creative and passionate approaches to merging arts and education by remaining thoughtful and attentive to the individual needs of her students, co-sponsoring Centennial’s Gay-Straight Alliance, enthusiastically encouraging her students to reach their full potential, and fostering risk taking and experimentation in their work.

Student ACE Award – Saskia Bakker, for striving to promote understanding and appreciation of the local arts community by creating the Undercut Collective, an organization with the mission to create shows that are accessible and comfortable environments for teens.

Lifetime ACE Award – Aurora Villacorta (Miss V), for introducing thousands and thousands of people to the many joys of ballroom dance and guiding generations of students through fear and insecurity into smiles and confidence with her enthusiasm, kindness,  and innovative teaching methods. 

The winners were chosen from over 90 public nominations by an independent panel of community-based judges representing a broad cross-section of Champaign County.  This year’s judges were: Tim Bartlett, Executive Director of the Urbana Park District; Emily Young, Magnet Site Coordinator at Stratton Academy of the Arts; Lisa Kesler, local artist and illustrator; and Bridget Lee-Calfas, Advertising and Publicity Director at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.