Community Arts Awards

Presented annually, the Community Arts Awards honor local artists, arts organizations, and champions of the arts. Award recipients will be announced in July of 2019 with a community celebration to take place on August 25 at Kalamazoo College's Nelda K. Balch Playhouse at 4 p.m.
Nominations are now open and may be submitted hereFor a list of previous CAA winners, please click here.

Community Medal of Arts

Recognizes an individual for their significant creative contributions and leadership in the arts.

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This lifetime achievement award also highlights an artist who has received acclaim on a local or national level and who has made a tremendous impact on our community through art. 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 time span 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
Awarded to those whose lives exemplify a broad range of service to the arts community.

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The recipient is an individual, individuals, or a group whose service to the arts is unrelated to his/her/their professional occupation.

Nominations for this award will be evaluated on the following criteria:

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


Adam F. Carter Young Artist Award
Recognizes and encourages the next generation of artists in our community.

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Named after a young artist whose life was cut short but whose impact on the arts community in Kalamazoo transcended age. This recipient should be a rising high school junior or senior, or a college freshman, who has made an impact on their artistic field of study as well as 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 for this award will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  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
Honoring businesses in our community for their leadership, commitment, and vision in developing exemplary alliances with artists and arts organizations.

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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 for this award 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
Acknowledging an individual or couple who have significantly contributed to the arts as patrons.

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As patrons the recipient(s) 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 the following criteria:

  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
Recognizing a non-profit organization or program that is of high artistic quality and serves to enhance the life in our community through the arts.

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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.

Nominations for this award will be evaluated on 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
Recognizing leaders in our community in two categories: Arts Education and Arts Administration.

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This award is named after the first full-time Executive Director of the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo. The recipients will have a proven track record of their strong impact on the community and in their participation in the arts -- 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 agencies 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)

Program Spotlight

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Thank you for your generous support of our programs.


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