Community Arts Awards

Since 1985, the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo has honored local artists, arts organizations, and supporters through the Community Arts Awards. Nominations open on September 1, 2020 through Slideroom. Deadline has been extended to October 16, 2020.

The Community Arts Awards will be announced in November 2020, and honorees will be celebrated at a presentation on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 at 5:30 pm at the Arts Council’s Annual Meeting. Originally scheduled to be held at the Jolliffe Theatre, the Community Arts Awards presentation will now be held at the Wellspring Theater. If you have any questions about the nomination process, please contact Kristen Chesak at or by phone at (269) 342-5059.

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2019 and Previous Years Community Arts Award Winners


Award Categories:

Community Medal of Arts

See award criteria

The CMA recognizes an artist who has a significant body of creative activity, is a leader in their field, who has received local and or national acclaim, and has impacted our community through art. This award is given out to an artist only once in an artist’s career.

This award encompasses all art forms, including but not limited to visual, musical, theatrical, literary, performing, multi-media, architecture or design. Nominations for this award will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  1. Quality and timespan of artistic work achieved (40 points)
  2. Impact on our community, mentees, and peers through art (30 points)
  3. Evidence of leadership in the artistic discipline (20 points)
  4. Recognition of accomplishments on the local, regional, or national level (10 points)


Theodore C. Cooper Award for Distinguished Volunteer Service

See award criteria

The recipient is to be a person, persons or group whose lives exemplify a broad range of service to the arts community that is not related to his/her/their professional occupation. Nominations for this award will be evaluated on the following criteria:

Depth, breadth, and consistency of the time and talent volunteered to the arts in our community (30 points)
The demonstrated benefit of the time and talent volunteered to arts organizations and projects (50 points)
The demonstrated benefit to peers and mentees through volunteer service (20 points)


Adam F. Carter Young Artist Award

See award criteria

This award recognizes and encourages the next generation of artists in our community.  Named after a young artist whose life was cut short, but whose contribution to the arts community of Kalamazoo provided an example of that age doesn’t matter when making a difference in the arts.  This recipient should be a rising high school senior (although rising juniors and college freshman will also be considered), who has had an impact in both their artistic field of study and in our community. The recipient of this award will receive a monetary scholarship to be used to further their artistic study.  The scholarship is generously underwritten by the Mary and Brooks Godfrey Family. Nominations will be accepted by the student’s teacher, director, instructor, or a community member not related to the nominee.  Nominations will be evaluated on:

  1. The body of work achieved and current involvement in the visual, performing, or literary arts (25 points)
  2. How the arts have shaped the nominee as an individual and artist (25 points)
  3. Nominee’s current impact on community, and peers through their art form (25 points)
  4. Future artistic and educational plans of the nominee and potential benefit of scholarship to these plans and their growth as an artist (25 points)


Business Arts Award

See award criteria

This award is presented to honor businesses in our community for their leadership, commitment, and vision in developing exemplary alliances with artists and arts organizations. The award recognizes a business for creating outstanding initiatives with artists and arts organizations, furthering the educational development of youth, enhancing the economic vitality of the community and enriching the quality of life in our community.  Nominations will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  1. Past, and current involvement in and/or support of arts in our community (40 points)
  2. Incorporation of arts and culture into the internal culture of the business (25 points)
  3. Active promotion of how the arts enhance the quality of life in our community (25 points)
  4. Furthering the educational development of youth (10 points)


Patron Award

See award criteria

This award acknowledges an individual or couple who have significantly contributed to the arts as patrons.  Through their patronage, they have made a sustained and/or transformational impact in this community through their support of the arts. Nominations for this award will be evaluated on:

  1. Evidence and demonstrated the benefit of sustained and/or transformational support of the arts, whether it is a single artist, arts, organizations, art initiative or project, and a group of artists or arts organizations. (50 points)
  2. Active promotion of the arts in our community through word and deed (25 points)
  3. Personal support of the arts through attendance at events (25 points)


Epic Award

See award criteria

This award recognizes a non-profit organization or program in our community that is of high artistic quality and serves to enhance the life in our community through the arts.  The award pays special attention to both long-standing programs and organizations that have played a consistent role in the community and new organizations and programs that meet a previously unmet community need or focus area. Evaluation of the nominations in this category will be against the following criteria:

  1. Evidence of consistently successful artistic projects/programs or evidence of meeting previously unmet community need through artistic endeavors (40 points)
  2. The demonstrated benefit of the programming or project undertaken by the organization (30 points)
  3. Evidence of community support for programming and/or projects. (30 points)


Gayle Hoogstraten Arts Leadership Award

See award criteria

Named after the first full-time Executive Director of the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo, this award recognizes leaders in our community in two categories:  Arts Education and Arts Administration.  The recipients of this award will have shown a proven track record of strong impact on the community and participants in art far beyond his/her job description.  The recipients will also have established positive and productive relationships in the community outside of his/her institution.  Criteria for evaluating the nominations to this category are:

Arts Educator:

  1. Evidence of leadership, dedication, and work in helping organizations and individuals uncover a greater capacity to create, connect and deepen relationships with their community.  (25 points)
  2. Evidence of mentorship through education and service to the community. (25 points)
  3. Furthering artistic and/or professional endeavors in the arts through project and programming (25 points)
  4. Demonstrated benefit of educational efforts on mentees, students, artists, arts organizations and the community. (25 points)

Arts Administrator:

  1. Contributions to the success of local arts/cultural agency(ies) through leadership and stewardship (25 points)
  2. Role in implementing best practices in their field (25 points)
  3. Demonstrated benefit on the quality of artists product and programming, internal cultural of the organization/agency, and quality of life in the community. (20 points)
  4. Evidence of mentorship through education and service to the community. (25 points)




The Community Box Office Hours:

The Box Office will be closed for Thanksgiving on Thursday, November 23, and Friday, November 24, 2023. Box office hours are Monday through Friday, 10 am - 6 pm, with closing for lunch from 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm. You may contact the box office at 269.250.6984.

ACGK Office Hours:

The Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo will be closed for Thanksgiving on Thursday, November 23, and Friday, November 24, 2023.

ACGK offices are open to the public Tuesday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm. 

You may also contact us at: 269.342.5059 or email us at:

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