This award recognizes the contributions of someone whose interest in and promotion of local arts has served to create a lasting effect in the community. Each year, the Arts Commission board members nominate candidates and select the final recipient. The first was given in 2004.
2019 Arts Citizen of the Year – Robby Henson and Heather Henson
Robby Henson and Heather Henson, both accomplished artists in their own right are also honored for their work continuing the tradition of producing entertaining and successful summer theater experiences at Pioneer Playhouse.
Heather Henson worked in the publishing industry before turning her attention to writing young adult fiction. Several of her books have been published to critical acclaim.
Robby Henson has written and directed full length films and documentaries. He has developed, and directs, a play writing program at Northpoint Correctional Facility. Former students have had their works produced and continue to write and perform.
Following the death of their father, Eben Henson, Heather and Robby, along with their mother Charlotte, have continued to bring the uninterrupted summers of theater under the stars to thousands of visitors to the historic theater.
2018 Arts Citizen of the Year – Vince DiMartino
Vince is a renowned musician who has performed, toured, lectured and recorded around the world. He has performed frequently at the Great American Brass Band Festival. While his performance credits are numerous, the Arts Commission also recognized his years of service as a teacher at the University of Kentucky and finally at Centre College. He has chosen to make Danville his home.
2017 Arts Citizen of the Year – Michael Hughes
Michael Hughes has been a fixture in the music scene in Danville for his entire life. Today he divides his time between performing, serving on the Board of Pioneer Playhouse, conducting and sharing extensive research on the history of African American contributions to the local culture and organizing the Soul of Second Street Festival which includes performances by local musicians and a major history symposium. The Festival celebrates the vibrant life along the Second Street African American Business District near the current location of Constitution Square.
2016 Arts Citizen of the Year – Barbara Lockhart
Barbara was a local artist who frequently contributed works for exhibits with the Arts Commission and other galleries. Her favorite subjects included horses and her grandchildren. Barbara actively supported the arts in our community as a patron of the Arts Commission programs and the Community Arts Center. Her creative and generous spirit was an inspiration to all who knew her. Barbara passed away on January 14, 2017. The Arts Commission has established the Lockhart Art Is Vital Fund in her honor. The fund will be used for special arts programming in the community.
2016 Arts Citizen of the Year – Stuart Powell
Stuart is a long time supporter of the arts in our community. Through the generosity of the Powell family, many non-profit arts organizations have been able to grow and become stable. His patronage of the Arts Commission, the Weisiger Theater, and the Community Arts Center as well as many other community programs have made this a better place to live and work. In honor of Stuart, the Arts Commission has established the Powell Performing Arts Scholarship which will assist worthy young performers to participate in extra-curricular arts experiences.
2015 Arts Citizen Jane Dewey
As Director of Arts Education for the Danville school system since 2000, Jane Dewey has worked to make a more meaningful arts experience for our young people. Dewey coordinates arts events for 5 schools, as well as performing behind the scenes for arts organizations. She has also taught in magnet programs – the Governor’s Scholars’ Program at Centre College and Upward Bound at Berea College – as well as serving as Adjunct Instructor (Drama and Education Departments) and Guest Artist at Centre College, Arts Academy Coordinator and Teaching Artist for Kentucky Center for the Arts, and director of four plays at Centre College, and five plays for the Danville School system.
Dewey believes in the power of partnerships to advance the arts, and much of her work is done in collaboration with community visual and performing arts groups, individual artists, and teachers within or outside the district. She works with the Arts Partners of Danville, the Great American Brass Band Festival, Citizens Concerned for Human Relations, the Community Arts Center, West T. Hill Community Theatre, Pioneer Playhouse, the Sister Cities Commission, and The Arts Commission of Danville/Boyle County. She serves on their boards and works on committees. She is past president of the Arts Commission and has coordinated its Youth Art Fair for over five years.
2014 Arts Citizen Joan Stansbury
After retiring from a thirty year teaching career in Lexington, Stansbury moved to Danville and took initiative as a volunteer at the Community Arts Center and became an integral part of four community choirs. Stansbury created Lunch with the Arts at the Community Arts Center in 2009 and has since coordinated the popular program that offers a diversity of arts disciplines, as regional artists share their specialties each month.
In 2010, while Stodghill Professor of Music Dr. Barbara Hall was on sabbatical, Stansbury took on the responsibility of acting director for the Women’s Voices choral group at Centre College. In 2013, she served as interim director for the Presbyterian Church of Danville during their search for a new music director. She also accompanies Danville Children’s Choir and Centre College’s annual music scholarship auditions. She is both a member of Sounding Joy and their assistant conductor and is a member of the Presbyterian Church adult choir. Stansbury is an accomplished classical pianist and a singer, who also continues to be a force in music education for young children through her involvement with the Orff Society, a national organization.
2013 Arts Citizen Steve Meadows
2012 Arts Citizen Barbara Reynierson
2011 Arts Citizen Barbara Hall
2010 Arts Citizens George and Rodi Jackson
2009 Arts Citizen Karen Logue
2008 Arts Citizen George Foreman
Foreman is a world authority on march music sponsored by newspapers and had one commissioned for the Advocate Messenger. It was his love for marches that led to the creation of the Great American Brass Band Festival, hosted every June since 1989 at Centre College. The festival brings nationally and internationally known brass groups to Danville for admission-free performances. As a community educator, Foreman brought children’s theater productions to the Norton Center for local students and organized brass music history seminars, held as part of Great American Brass Band Festival. He also expanded the presentation of chamber music through the Chamber Music Festival of the Bluegrass at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill.
2007 Arts Citizen Thomas Baeker, M.D.
2006 Arts Citizen Charlotte Henson
2005 Arts Citizen Jennifer Brummett
2004 Arts Citizen Wilma Brown
Prior to taking on the challenge of opening the Arts Center, she was a founding member and first president of the Danville/Boyle County Arts Commission and a founding member of Gathering Artists, a local organization. After retiring as a librarian in the public schools, she has been a watercolor portrait artist, gallery owner, appears on Kentucky Education Television as a book reviewer. Also a culinary artist, Brown owns a small bake shop that serves pies and cookies.