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Al Smith Among 2015 Governor’s Awards in the Arts Recipients

News Democrat Leader

Gov. Steve Beshear today (October 22) honored nine Kentuckians with the prestigious Governor’s Awards in the Arts.

“These awardees represent such a rich diversity of background and experience, but they have in common that they have risen above and beyond in their commitment to hone and refine their respective talents. In the case of the organizations we’re also honoring, they have demonstrated a remarkable and fervent commitment to creating an art-friendly community where they live,” said Gov. Beshear, who was presiding over the final Governor’s Award ceremony of his second term.

“It has been my privilege as governor to see so many Governor’s Awardees pass through the Rotunda and to honor their contributions to our Commonwealth,” added Beshear.

Lt. Gov. Crit Luallen, a former Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of the Arts, also participated in the awards ceremony.

“The Governor’s Awards in the Arts creates a higher profile for Kentucky’s arts and artists, helping to raise awareness of the Commonwealth’s rich heritage and artistic traditions,” Lt. Gov. Luallen said.

“As someone who was involved with the establishment of the Governor’s Awards for the Arts, it has been rewarding to see the vast array of talent and rich contributions that scores of individuals and businesses have made to Kentucky,” added Luallen.

Among the honorees was noted Kentucky journalist and arts advocate Al Smith, the former host of KET’s “Comment on Kentucky” and a former chairman of the Kentucky Arts Council. Gov. Beshear awarded Smith the Milner Award, named in honor of B. Hudson Milner, a Louisville utility executive and civic leader, whose contributions to the arts in Kentucky remain important to this day.

The Milner Award is presented to Kentucky residents or organizations located in Kentucky for outstanding philanthropic, artistic or other contributions to the arts.

“The arts council is to be commended not only for investments in programs and arts institutions, but, in recent years, for grants to individual artists that highlight their talents and contribute to our citizens’ appreciation of artists as they raise our vision and nourish our souls,” Smith said.

The other eight Governor’s Awardees, listed by hometown and specific award, were:

•Linda Pigman Fifield, McKee, Artist Award

•Big Ass Solutions (manufacturer of Big Ass Fans), Lexington, Business Award

•Creative Diversity Studio, Louisville, Community Arts Award

•Nathan Link, Danville, Education Award

•Willie D. Rascoe, Hopkinsville, Folk Heritage Award

•Paducah Convention & Visitors Bureau, Paducah, Government Award

•Dave Shuffett, Nicholasville, Media Award

•Sam Bush, Bowling Green, National Award

The 2015 Governor’s Award was designed by renowned folk artist Minnie Adkins, of Isonville. Artists chosen to design the Governor’s Award each year are selected from among past Governor’s Award recipients. Adkins earned the Governor’s Award in 1998.

The Kentucky Arts Council, the state arts agency, fosters environments for Kentuckians to value, participate in and benefit from the arts. Kentucky Arts Council funding is provided by the Kentucky General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts. The arts council, along with the NEA, is celebrating 50 years of service in 2015, which the arts council is recognizing as the Year of the Arts in Kentucky.

(story provided by Gov. Steve Beshear's Communications Office)

Paul Hitchcock earned his Masters in Communications from Morehead State University and Bachelors in Radio-TV/Psychology from Georgetown College. A veteran broadcaster for more than 40 years and an avid fan of blues, jazz and American roots music. Hitchcock has been with WMKY since 1986 and was named General Manager in 2003. He currently hosts "Muddy Bottom Blues" (Fri., 8pm-9pm), "Nothin' But The Blues" (Sat., 8pm-12am), "Sunday Night Jazz Showcase" and "Live From The Jazz Lounge" (Sun., 8pm-9pm) and "The Golden Age of Radio" (Sun., 2pm-3pm). He also serves as producer for "A Time For Tales" and "The Reader's Notebook."
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