Former Juneau Mayor Bruce Botelho has received the very arts award he encouraged.
Botelho has been named Advocate for the Arts in the Juneau Arts & Humanities Council’s Sixth Annual Mayor’s Awards. As mayor, Botelho suggested the council create the annual awards. He is among eight Juneau residents to receive honors this year.
Members of the Arts and Humanities Council make the selection from community members’ nominations. Nancy DeCherney is executive director of the council.
“And what we’re trying to look for is people who have made some form of serious impact,” DeCheryney says, “perhaps one that’s been unnoticed, but deserves being noticed, using the arts in some way to benefit the entire community.”
Like Botelho, who as mayor prompted the council to create the annual awards and to open the Juneau Arts & Culture Center in the old National Guard Armory. DeCherney credits his leadership for seed funding for the proposed JACC expansion. He’s been a council member, on the board of the Juneau International Folk Dancers, and part of other local arts initiatives.
“It’s kind of fun to give him the award that he kind of thought up himself,” DeCherney says.
This year’s Artist award goes to Christy NaMee Ericksen, the creator and force behind a monthly Wooosh Kinaadeiyi Poetry Slam.
Gastineau Elementary School teacher Shgen George is receiving the Arts in Education award for her use of arts to help children learn history, social studies and math.
Juneau Empire “Arts & Culture” Editor Amy Fletcher gets the Professional Leadership in the Arts award.
Violin teacher Guo Hua Xia teaches youngsters violin, including in the Juneau Alaska Music Matters program at Glacier Valley Elementary School. He is the recipient of the Mayor’s Award for Visionary Application of the Arts.
Kathy Ruddy is the Volunteer for the Arts, for her service on numerous local arts boards over the years.
In its 39th year, the Alaska Folk Festival gets the Arts Organization award. The Lifetime Achievement in the Arts award goes to former Juneau Arts and Humanities Council Director Natalee Rothaus.
DeCherney describes the recipients as quietly going about their work in very creative but not real public ways. The annual Mayor’s Awards for the Arts will be presented by Juneau Mayor Merrill Sanford at the Wearable Arts Festival on Feb. 9.