The Arts Council is pleased to announce the 2018 Community Arts Awards recipients.

The Community Arts Awards were presented on Sunday, August 26th at the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre.  

Community Medal of Arts Mary Brodbeck

Theodore C. Cooper Award for Distinguished Volunteer Service Jerrold French

Business Arts Award Metro Toyota

Epic Award Fontana Chamber Arts

Adam F. Carter Young Artist Award Liya Jin

Gayle Hoogstraten Arts Leadership Awards
Arts Administrator – Audrey Lipsey
Arts Educator – David Curl


Community Medal of Arts
Mary Brodbeck  






Mary Brodbeck is a leader in her field of Moku Hanga printmaking and an artist who has achieved a significant body of creative activity. Mary’s prints have been recognized and awarded at the local, regional, and national levels; and, her 2014 short film, “Becoming Made” received an Award of Merit Special Mention in the Best Shorts Competition in 2015. Through her art, teaching, and advocacy, Mary makes a substantial, positive impact on the Kalamazoo community.

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Theodore C. Cooper Award for Distinguished Volunteer Service
Jerrold French

Jerry French has a long and deep commitment to the fine arts community in Kalamazoo.  He has lived here his entire life, nearly 88 years.  Bill Maxey, who nominated Mr. French says, “I have known him for 20 years and have researched his arts volunteer work as thoroughly as I can, but I imagine there may well have been earlier involvements than I have uncovered”.  Adding, “I know from personal experience, and from what others have reported to me in the course of my research, that Jerry does not offer his volunteer services lightly nor does he join an organization unless he knows he has the time, the interest and the talent to be an active participant”.

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Business Arts Award
Metro Toyota

Metro Toyota is receiving the Business Arts Award because of their deep commitment to making Kalamazoo a dynamic and diverse place to live. Jeff DeNooyer and Metro Toyota have been outstanding supporters to so many organizations in Kalamazoo, and the arts are no exception.

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Epic Award
Fontana Chamber Arts

Fontana Chamber Arts was formed in 2000 by merging the Chamber Music Society of Kalamazoo (CMS) and the Fontana Concert Society (FCS).  Founded in 1955, CMS provided world class traditional chamber music to Kalamazoo audiences, bringing in the best of the world’s touring ensembles each year for a series of four or five winter season concerts.  FCS, formed in 1980, provided much more varied programming during its summer and winter seasons, featuring traditional chamber music, jazz and world music.  Fontana has carried forward the best traditions of its predecessors each year, bringing in the very best of the world?s touring chamber music and jazz ensembles, with an occasional foray into “world music”.

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Adam F. Carter Young Artist Award
Liya Jin

Liya Jin is an exceptionally talented young musician who has engaged in the musical life of the community as a performer, leader, and volunteer. Liya Jin is a seventeen-year-old senior at Portage Central High School and the Kalamazoo Math and Science Center.  Liya plans to attend Harvard University in Fall 2018 and play violin in the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra.

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Gayle Hoogstraten Award for Arts Leadership - Educator
David Curl

David Curl has been the central person in shaping many artists passions for history and photography in Kalamazoo. His supportive mentorship approach in the classroom was inspiring and helped instill confidence in many young artists and formed the basis for many teachers in our community.  Always approachable, relaxed in manner, with a depth of knowledge of all aspects of the medium, Dave made a significant impact on his students.

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Gayle Hoogstraten Award for Arts Leadership – Administrator
Audrey Lipsey

Audrey Lipsey, Executive Director of Crescendo Academy of Music (CAM), is beloved by those who know and work with her.  Words used to describe Audrey focus on: Excellence, Leadership, Community, Enrichment, Education, Talent, Quality, Inclusion, Resources, and Equality of participation for all ages, abilities, and economic and social status.  Audrey is the cornerstone of the arts in the area; her contributions to the music scene, countless. Her role in the musical education of children has given them a place to escape from the world. She has given these children a place to nourish their minds and hearts, learn the power of hard work and dedication, and learn to find joy in the arts. She has given them an oasis.

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Program Spotlight

Thank You to our Partners for Supporting our Programs


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