Arts & Culture

Annual ArtsKC awards luncheon will draw a who’s who in the arts community

Paul Mesner (right) will receive a lifetime achievement award Thursday from ArtsKC-Regional Arts Council at the organization’s annual awards luncheon. Mesner, founder of Mesner Puppets, is retiring as artistic director. Mike Horner (left) is succeeding him at the Kansas City puppet company.
Paul Mesner (right) will receive a lifetime achievement award Thursday from ArtsKC-Regional Arts Council at the organization’s annual awards luncheon. Mesner, founder of Mesner Puppets, is retiring as artistic director. Mike Horner (left) is succeeding him at the Kansas City puppet company. deulitt@kcstar.com

A lifetime achievement award for Paul Mesner, founder of Mesner Puppets, will be one of seven honors bestowed Thursday at the 14th annual awards luncheon of Arts KC-Regional Arts Council.

About 1,000 guests are expected to attend the event at the Kansas City Convention Center which will recognize 18 finalists in six awards categories.

The finalists:

▪ Loretta Britton, Ann Kenney and Lee Pentecost in the Virtuoso category for individuals who “exemplify dedicated volunteerism, artistic contributions and/or work in the KC arts community.”

▪ Michael Boehm, Mark McHenry and Larry Meeker in the Advocate category for elected or public figures who “represent outstanding advocacy for the arts.”

▪ DeLaSalle Education Center, Fort Osage High School and University Academy in the Education category for schools or districts that use the arts “as a tool for achieving educational excellence.”

▪ The HALO Foundation, Harmony Project KC and Summit Art in the Innovator category for nonprofits that provide arts education opportunities “to underserved communities and create innovative partnerships.”

▪ Centric Projects, JE Dunn Construction and Lead Bank in the Creative Impact category for businesses that “foster innovation, support local artists or arts organizations and provide leadership in the arts community.”

▪ Bank of Blue Valley, Lathrop & Gage and Starlight Theatre in the ArtsKC Fund Excellence category for “raising funds and awareness for the ArtsKC Fund Campaign.”

The winners will be announced at the luncheon. Each winner will receive a piece of art crafted by Rachelle Gardner-Roe, who uses lace in her sculptures and drawings. ArtsKC each year chooses a Kansas City artist to create the physical awards.

The Kansas City Boys Choir, MoonDrop Circus and Xiangyu Zhao are scheduled performers during the luncheon.

The ArtsKC Fund also will announce its fundraising goal for the coming year. The 2016 campaign received pledges of slightly more than $500,000. Since the campaign began in 2007 more than $4.6 million was raised, providing more than 800 grants to area artists and arts organizations.

Diane Stafford: 816-234-4359, @kcstarstafford

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