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“We Are Golden Together” was the theme May 1 as a record crowd of over 500 gathered for the 40th Mayor’s Arts Awards and the 50th anniversary of the Lincoln Arts Council (LAC).

It was a beautiful night of remembering, honoring and celebrating the arts in Lincoln. Sixteen recipients of the Mayor’s Arts Awards took their moment in the spotlight and received a beautifully printed and framed poem from former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser, which was this year’s award. Lora Black, NET Public Radio personality and “the voice of Nebraska,” read the poem. Award-winner Jackie Allen performed a song written for her by her husband, Hans Sturm, in which she mentioned the names of each of the recipients.

The event remembered those from the arts and humanities communities that have died in the past year.

A new brand and logo for the LAC was unveiled along with a reading of the arts manifesto. Testimonies from LAC board member Tony Reiling and from Becky Boesen and Petra Wahlqvist of BLIXT! beautifully illustrated the power unleashed through arts experiences for young people and their families.

Twenty-four 50th anniversary art boards, created and donated by local artists, were sold as a fundraiser. The Noyes Art Gallery, Burkholder Project, Urban Legends and Chapin Studios & Gallery provided displays, along with vintage Mayor’s Arts Awards arranged by event chair Jack Saltzman.

For the second year, the event was held on the main floor of Pinnacle Bank Arena with a Winners’ Reception upstairs. DeWayne Taylor, KFRX radio personality, provided lively narrative for the night and entertained the crowd with his beat-boxing prowess. Students from award-winner JF International Music Academy joined Taylor to provide reception entertainment.

It is not too early to think about which artist, art philanthropist, teacher, volunteer, event or arts organization you will nominate for the 2019 Mayor’s Arts Awards. More information is available at

See the full 2018 Mayor’s Arts Awards, including the winners’ interviews, at


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