Springfield Area Arts Council


The Mayor’s Awards for the Arts recognize outstanding talent and dedication to the arts in Sangamon and Menard Counties, the area served by the Springfield Area Arts Council. Mayor Misty Buscher and the Springfield Area Arts Council invite citizens in these counties to participate in the 22nd celebration of support for the arts in our communities by submitting nominations in any of eight categories. An awards selection committee, appointed by the Mayor of Springfield and Executive Director of SAAC, will review all nominations and select the award recipients.


The Springfield Area Arts Council in partnership with the City of Springfield invites you to nominate an individual or business for the 2024 Mayor’s Awards for the Arts. These awards recognize outstanding talent in and dedication to the arts in Sangamon and Menard counties. The eight award categories include Individual Visual Artist, Individual Performing Artist, Individual Literary Artist, Arts Organization, Arts Volunteer, Arts Educator, Exceptional Arts Student, and Business Committed to the Arts.
 Please complete the nomination form in its entirety and return it as a PDF to director@springfieldartsco.org or to the Springfield Area Arts Council, 420 South Sixth Street, Springfield, Illinois 62701.
Nominations must be received no later than 5:00 p.m., Monday, September 30, 2024.
• There is no limit to the number of nominations that may be submitted. Use a separate form for each.
• There is no fee to nominate.
• Nominations can be submitted for previous nominees who have not been award recipients.
• Self-nominations or nominations by family members are not allowed. Members of the selection committee, the Springfield Area Arts Council board of directors, staff, and their immediate families, as well as previous Mayor’s Awards for the Arts winners, are not eligible for nomination.
What Does It Take To Nominate?
Along with a completed nomination form, you must submit a typed narrative, two-page maximum, supporting your nominee for the 2024 Mayor’s Award for the Arts is required. Hand-written nominations will not be accepted. The following criteria will be used to evaluate nominees. Not all criteria will apply to every category.”
• Artistic Merit: Indicate the artistic medium of the nominee and describe the quality of the nominee’s work in the discipline. Please list awards or achievements on a third page.
• Longevity of Service: How long has the nominee served Sangamon or Menard counties? In what capacity – volunteer, staff, board, educator, etc.? And with which organizations, schools, boards, festivals, etc. has the nominee served?
• Impact of Work: What impact has the work or service of the nominee had on the community?
• Breadth of Work: What projects or causes have been served by the nominee’s involvement and how many people have been served through the work of the nominee?
Letters of support, résumé, newspaper reviews, performance and\or exhibit programs, etc. may be submitted but are not required. Three pieces maximum.”


Individual Artist – Visual Artist:  A living artist, residing in Sangamon or Menard County, who has produced a significant body of work in his/her artistic discipline in the field of visual arts and who has contributed to the arts in our area.

Individual Artist – Performing Artist:  A living artist, residing in Sangamon or Menard County, who has produced a significant body of work in his/her artistic discipline in the field of performing arts and who has contributed to the arts in our area;  includes music, theater, dance.

Individual Artist – Literary Artist:  A living artist, residing in Sangamon or Menard County, who has produced a significant body of work in his/her artistic discipline in the field of poetry or prose, fiction or non-fiction and who has contributed to the arts in our area.

Arts Organization:  A nonprofit organization that has made a substantial impact on the cultural development of this area as demonstrated through exceptional artistic achievement and outstanding programming.

Business:  A local business that has demonstrated a significant commitment to the arts, recognizing the imperative role of public / private partnerships. This commitment may be in the form of financial, personnel, and/or resources support.

Arts Volunteer:  A volunteer who consistently supports the arts through a commitment of personal time, energy, and devotion.

Arts Educator:  An individual who has made a significant contribution to kindergarten through twelfth grade arts education, as a teacher, mentor, or catalyst who educates children through the arts.

Exceptional Arts Student:  A high school or college student, residing in Sangamon or Menard County, who has demonstrated exceptional talent as a visual, performing, or literary artist and who has made a significant contribution to the arts community.



Mayor's Award for the Arts 2022 Winners

Photo: Jeremy Bailey

The award recipients for 2022 were:

SPECIAL RECOGNITION:  Fletcher (Bud) Farrar, Jr.




ARTS EDUCATOR:  Matthew Vala

ARTS STUDENT:  Cooper Coker


ARTS ORGANIZATION:  Menard County Singers





Kenneth E. Barton, Sr. *
William Crook, Jr.
Karen Lynne Deal
Michael Dunbar
Jim Edwards
Jessie Mae Finley *
Deanna Funk
Doug Hahn
Kathryn Harris
Jane Hartman
Joe Hennessy *
Shannon Keith Kelley
Kenneth Kiesler
John Knoepfle *
Peter Lynch *
Jack Madura
Tracey Maras
Henry Miles *
Grace Luttrell Nanavati
Johnnie Owens
Sheri Ramsey
Helen E. Rilling *
Shatriya Smith


Active and Creative Teen Theatre
Bells in Motion
Downtown Springfield, Inc.’s
Design Committee
Eastside Theater **
Great American People Show **
Illinois Central Blues Club
Lincoln’s New Salem State
Historic Site
Liturgical Arts Festival of Springfield
Menard County Singers
Old Capitol Art Fair
Prairie Art Alliance **
Sangamon Valley Youth Symphony /Illinois Youth Symphony Orchestra
Springfield Art Association
Springfield Ballet Company
Springfield Community
Concert Association **
Springfield Muni Opera
Springfield Municipal Band
Springfield Symphony Orchestra/
Illinois Symphony Orchestra
Springfield Theatre Centre


Marine Bank/Bank One/
Chase Bank
Central Illinois Light Company/Ameren
Family Video **
First of America Bank/PNC
First National Bank of Springfield/
US Bank
FloraScape ** – Alison Novak *
Gateway Foundation –
Springfield Center
IBM Corporation
Illinois National Bank
Magna Bank/Regions Bank
Persian Rug Center
Robbie’s ** – Archer and Lori Bailey
Springfield Van Lines/Bekins
Trout Lily Cafe ** – Kate Hawkes
UMedia – David Cain
United Community Bank
Watts Copy Systems
Whimsy Tea Company


Joan Burmeister
John T. Crisp, Jr.
Kathy Elmore
Martha Kichinko
Priscilla Kluge
Elizabeth Marcy
Linda Post-Lucas
Wanda Riseman *
Marianne Stremsterfer
Matthew Vala
Roberta Volkmann


Tania Brodsky
Cooper Coker
Maggie Day
Richard Kohlrus
Casey Sheehan


Patricia Anderson *
Elaine Birtch
Théa Chesley
Julie Edwards *
Phyllis Eubanks
Jean Follin
Jim Allan Huston
Debi Iams
George King
Mary McDonald
James Murray *
Paul Presney, Jr.
Polly Roesch *
Gene Rubley *
Molly Schlich *
Devera Victor *
Roanna Victor
Bonnie Wabner *
Carole and Don Walton


Margaret Boswell
Rosemary Buffington
Fletcher Farrar
Hazen * and Roland Folse
Charles and Kathleen Hoogland
Bernadette Nolan
Prairie House **
Security Federal Saving and Loan /
Security Bank
Sangamon Auditorium /
UIS Performing Arts Center
Linda Younkin

* Deceased
** No longer in business