Mayor’s Arts Awards to Honor Local Artists, Advocates on Sept. 30th 

The winners of the 2017 Mayor's Arts Awards presented at Cornerstone Center for the Arts. Photo by: Mike RhodesThe winners of the 2017 Mayor's Arts Awards presented at Cornerstone Center for the Arts are pictured. Photo by: Mike Rhodes

 By Michelle Kinsey—

MUNCIE, IN – The office of Mayor Dan Ridenour and the Muncie Arts and Culture Council (MuncieArts) are excited to announce the nominees for the 2023 Mayor’s Arts Awards. This will be the 5th biennial celebration recognizing the exceptional contributions made to our cultural community by individuals and organizations. 

The Mayor’s Arts Awards ceremony will be Saturday, Sept. 30, at 7:30 p.m. at Southside Middle School, followed by a community party – open to all – at Munsee Lanes. 

Each awards ceremony is hosted in a different location, highlighting that location’s cultural uniqueness. Previous locations have included Cornerstone Center for the Arts, Muncie Civic Theatre and Sursa Peformance Hall (Ball State University). 

This year’s celebration will be hosted by Muncie Community Schools at Southside Middle School and will feature performances by the Southside Middle School Choir and the MCS Minority Educators Council Choral Ensemble. Artwork by Muncie Community Schools students will be displayed in the lobby. 

Other performers will include Muncie Civic Theatre, Youth Symphony Orchestra, and Harmony Dance Studio. 

The Mayor’s Arts Awards recognizes the contributions to the cultural community by all visual, performing, and culinary artists, musicians, writers, poets, rappers, directors, producers, craftspeople, arts educators, arts patrons, arts professionals and volunteers, as well as organizations, institutions, government agencies, corporations, and businesses who work in or for the arts primarily benefiting the residents of Muncie. The goal of this program is to help cultivate greater visibility and understanding of the value of the arts, as well as grow new leadership and new patrons of the arts. 

Nominees this year
Mary Arnett-Delaney
Carol Burt
Tom Cherry
Leon Crosby
David Dale
The Facing Project
William Jenkins
Kevin Klinger
SteVen Knipp
The Muncie Ballet
Aaron Nicholson
Sean Orloski
Lauren Pontenberg
Janice Shimizu
Shantanu Suman
Rick and Jeanne Zeigler

“The Mayor’s Arts Awards are amazing because they are all about citizens honoring citizens for great work done in the community,” said Erin Williams, MuncieArts Executive Director. “Getting an award from an organization or arts professional is great, but I think it means so much to be recognized and celebrated by your peers.”  

Awards will be given in eight categories: 

Arts Advocate – an individual or organization giving philanthropic or volunteer service; Arts Leader – an individual or organization whose leadership is outstanding within the local arts community; Arts Educator – an individual with far-reaching contributions to arts education; Corporate Arts – a corporation that shows exemplary support of the arts within the Muncie area; Artist in the Community – an individual artist in any discipline whose excellence contributes to Muncie’s cultural vitality; Next Generation Artist – an artist in any discipline under the age of 40 with outstanding promise to the arts community; Maker – a for-profit business owner exemplifying the vitality of Muncie’s creative economy, and Lifetime Achievement – an individual or organization recognized for significant and sustained contributions to the field of arts and culture in the Muncie area. 

Audience members at the ceremony will also be asked to nominate and vote for the recipient of the new People’s Choice Award. 

This event is also a fundraiser for MuncieArts, a way for the community to help the organization continue its efforts to “bring new public art projects, exhibitions, workshops, and innovative activities to Muncie,” Williams said. 

“We have such a rich community of artists, art patrons, and art allies in Muncie. By coming together to celebrate achievements in the arts and raise money for programs, we are able to build a future that maintains the incredible momentum the arts community has built over the last 10 years,” she added.

For more information about the Mayor’s Arts Awards, please visit