WASHBURN UNIVERSITY -- For this year, they're Governor Mark Parkinson's honorees. The Governor has just handed out this year's Governor's Arts Awards to 5 outstanding and creative Kansans who show, through their work or their works, how much the arts mean to them. Thursday night's ceremonies for the Kansas Arts Commission were held at Washburn's Memorial Union.
National Geographic photographer Jim Richardson earned the state's Distinguished Arts Award for his decades of photographing rural life in Kansas and around the world. A former Topeka Capitol-Journal photographer, Richardson has expanded his horizons to include more than 20 stories in the National Geographic Traveler. His photo essays on the Flint Hills were featured in National Geographic Magazine three years ago. Richardson's work has also been featured twice on CBS' "Sunday Morning."
KU Film Professor and director Kevin Wilmott shared the artist's prize with Manhattan metalsmith Elliot Pujol. Elliot has 35 years experience as a skilled metal craftsman, and is one of the most important metalsmiths working in the U.S. today.
Wilmott is basking in the glow of his success from his recent "The Only Good Indian," with many scenes filmed here in Topeka. The film received critical acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival. Kevin's films challenge its viewers, and many of them are filled with Kansas landscape and history.
For his 25 years of music education, Doug Talley received one of the statuettes for Arts in Education. Talley has mentored and developed the musical talents of thousands of Kansas kids, beginning them with a middle school curriculum which leads to their choice of a musical instrument, for their choice of music improvisation.
As an Arts Advocate, Susan Craig is honored for her work (on her own time) leading to the "Biographical Dictionary of Kansas Artists." It details the lives of artists born or working in Kansas before 1945, and it is the definitive book in this field, with no other work like it anywhere.
Emporia's Arts Council was selected by the Governor and the Kansas Arts Commission for its work in bringing the arts to Lyon County, and finishing a successful campaign to construct a new facility for the performing arts. The City of Hays is the Arts Community of the year, honored for its many art-based partnerships and performances for the people who live there.