Fort Wayne-based Arts United has announced the winners of the 2020 Arts United awards celebrating organizations and people making community contributions to arts and culture in northeast Indiana. The organization received 33 nominations in seven categories and presented the awards during a ceremony in the Arts United Center over the weekend.
The winners include:
Outstanding Advocate- Maria Davis
Davis is the Downtown Services Coordinator for the City of Angola. She has worked to make diverse types of art accessible to the public, and promoted participation and education in the arts.
Outstanding Artist- Greg Stieber
Stieber is a theatrical director, playwright and actor. As a co-creator of the Young Heroes of Conscience Series, his award-winning plays have told the stories of children from history that made a difference in society, including The Kid from Kokomo: The Ryan White Story, Ruby Bridges and Helen Keller: After the Miracle.
Margaret Ann Keegan Award for Arts Education- Laura McCoy
McCoy is a FWCS music educator who has enriched thousands of children’s lives for over 40 years in the Fort Wayne Community. With her specialty in elementary education, she created and grew an instrumental music program for students in grades 2-5 for the first half of her career and then moved into the vocal-general music K-5 classroom for the second half.
Outstanding Volunteer- Laura Beauchamp
Beauchamp has worked in the community as an actor, director, choreographer, and member of volunteer outreach in underserved communities for over 37 years. She has provided customer service seminars, worked in gift shops, served on boards, represented Arts United for fund drives, and coordinated educational clinics.
Emerging Artist- Angela Sahli
Sahli is in her third season as the Costume Designer and Shop Manager with the Fort Wayne Civic Theatre. A bachelor’s degree in Musical Theatre and an MFA in Costume Design has prepared her for a career in the arts, where she has worked in educational and professional programs including children’s theatre, outdoor entertainment, summer stock, and dance.
Emerging Leader- Todd Espeland
Espeland joined the Fort Wayne Youtheatre as Executive/Artistic Director in April 2018. He has helped raise Youtheatre’s regional and national profile through innovative programming and local collaborations with the Embassy Theatre and WBOI. Todd also has coined international publication of two Youtheatre original adaptations, Treasure Island and Wind in the Willows.
Mayor’s Arts Award- Dr. Wendy Robinson
Robinson has been an advocate of high-quality public education, focused on educating the whole child with an emphasis on the arts. Dr. Wendy Robinson ensured that the arts stayed in education in her 40 plus years with Fort Wayne Community Schools.
Milestone Collaboration Award- Violins of Hope
The Violins of Hope collection has toured many cities around the world, including Fort Wayne, from November 9-24, 2019. Organized by lead partners, the Jewish Federation of Fort Wayne and the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, a steering committee of local professionals to work with area partners on a community-wide series of events focusing on these Strings of the Holocaust.