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Media Contact: Marla Carpenter, 770-3337, carpem@uncsa.edu


Arts Council Presents Its Annual Awards to Siobhan Olson and Kelly Maxner


Winston-Salem, NC (November 22, 2010) --  The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County honored two arts advocates at its 2010 Annual Meeting.  The Arts Council Award went to Siobhan Olson, the board member and marketing professional who co-chaired the opening celebration of the Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts. The R. Philip Hanes, Jr. Young Leader Award was presented to Kelly Maxner who teaches at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and is active in many arts outreach programs for the young and mentally and physically challenged.

 The Arts Council Award is awarded to a person who has demonstrated extraordinary commitment to volunteer service and made significant contributions to the arts in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County.  Sue Henderson made the presentation to Olson, citing her remarkable work in co-chairing the week-long celebration of the opening of the Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts and her efforts over the last three years to establish and market the “City of Arts and Innovation” brand for Winston-Salem.  Olson chaired The Arts Council’s Marketing Committee and spearheaded the effort to create the regional event information web site, Cityofthe Arts.com that has become a national model.

Shanomie Blackwood

  “This woman can accomplish the impossible!” Henderson said. “She is a true leader and an inspiration.” 

 The R. Philip Hanes Jr. Young Leader Award is given to a person 40 years of age or younger who exemplifies volunteer dedication and leadership, and serves as a model for future young leaders involved in the development of the art and cultural resources of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County. 

 Cheryl Lindsay presented the award to Kelly Maxner whom she described as “out there in the trenches working with the underprivileged, sick and challenged, as well as the exceptionally gifted students he has the pleasure to mentor.”

Maxner is the co-founder and artistic director of Open Dream Ensemble; has collaborated on projects with the Enrichment Center, the arts-based day program for developmentally disabled adults; and has taken high school drama students into the Arts Based Elementary School and the Winston-Salem Children’s Museum to do improvisation and theatre game workshops. He teaches workshops at the Special Children’s School and Paisley Magnet School.  Through the ARCH project at Brenner’s Children’s Hospital, Maxner trains high school students to go into the hospital and entertain and connect with young patients. 

“This young man truly understands the mission of the arts.  He has dedicated his life to making certain that arts are accessible to all,” said Lindsay.

 The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County was established in 1949 and was the first locally established arts council in the United States. The Arts Council enriches the quality of life for people in Winston-Salem and neighboring communities by raising funds for the arts, advocating for the arts, sponsoring events in conjunction with other arts organizations, providing educational opportunities strengthening cultural resources, developing social capital, and aiding economic development. In its 2010 grants cycle, The Arts Council made Operational Support Grants to 21 Funded Partners totaling $1,700,000. The grants represent an increase of $100,000, or six percent, over grants made in this category in 2009. Total grants made in its four grant categories totaled $1,950,000, an increase of $124,500 or 6.5 percent.


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