Time to Nominate Your Lumie Awards Candidates

April 5, 2012

The annual Lumies Arts & Business Awards will feature a new category this year recognizing an Outstanding Public Art Partner, an organization or business whose inclusion of public art in their property has a positive impact on the community around it.

The Lumies Award Ceremony will be held June 15 at the historic El Casino Ballroom in South Tucson.

Nominations are due by midnight on April 12. Nominations for the 2012 Lumie Awards can be submitted online.  Complete guidelines are available here.

Categories are:

Public Art Partner: This award will be presented to a business or organization whose inclusion of public art has a positive impact on the community.

Emerging Arts Organization: This award will be presented to an organization operating fewer than ten years, given in recognition of their innovation and creativity in their field.

Established Arts Organization: This award will be presented to an organization operating for more than ten years, given in recognition of their innovation, creativity and sustained excellence in their field.

Arts Patron: This award will be presented to an individual demonstrating outstanding leadership, evidenced by support in advancing the arts through advocacy and promotion of the arts through individual resources.

Arts Educator: This award will be presented to an individual demonstrating outstanding leadership, innovation, and creativity in arts education. Individuals may be involved in primary, secondary, or independent educational programs

Arts Education Program: This award will be presented to an organization demonstrating outstanding leadership, innovation, and creativity in its arts education program.

Small Business Partner: This award will be presented for outstanding support of the arts by a business with fewer than 50 employees.  This category recognizes a business that promotes the value of the arts as a strong, vibrant economic development partner through the donation of financial support, resources, leadership or other resources that promote the arts in the region.

Large Business Partner: This award will be presented for outstanding support of the arts by a business with more than 50 employees. This category recognizes a business that promotes the value of the arts as a strong, vibrant economic development partner through the donation of financial support, resources, leadership or other resources that promote arts in the region.

Emerging Artist: This award will be presented to an emerging artist for her or his outstanding innovation in a chosen field of art.

Artist Lifetime Achievement: This award will be presented to an individual artist who has sustained excellence and innovation in her or his art over a significant number of years.

In reviewing the categories for the current year’s awards, the Tucson Pima Arts Council’s Lumies Awards Committee, made up of TPAC board and community members, felt the lack of recognition for public art projects supported by the business community wasn’t reflective of Pima County’s belief in art in public spaces. All Pima County residents are invited to nominate a business or organization whose support of public art has enriched our community.

Tucson has a long and vibrant history of including significant art installations in public spaces. The city’s first public art policy was established in the early 1980s, with Pima County following suit just a few years later.

Over the course of the ensuing decades, Tucson and Pima County have become home to over 200 unique public art projects employing over 100 different artists.

More than 50 artists are currently under contract for projects in development, some of which are commissioned for as little as $2,000.

“Public art offers a business an opportunity to define not only their space but their identity,” says Mary Ellen Wooten, TPAC’s Public Art Program Manager.  “Public art can become a seamless part of the landscape or can offer a visual contrast that asks viewers to stop and consider their movement through our community.”

Wooten adds that Tucson itself is known as a “public art town,” drawing artists and tourists from around the country, visitors who are attuned to the subtle nuances our region’s diverse collection offers.

Public art itself can often become an iconic element of a city’s identity.  Chicago’s “Millenium Gate” sculpture by artist Anish Kapoor has, in fewer than ten years, become a unique and readily identifiable part of Chicago’s image.

In Arizona, Phoenix’s majestic installation by Janet Echelman, “Her secret is Persistence,” hovers over the downtown area’s revitalized public spaces near the expanded ASU campus.

“Public art inspires, amuses, and turns heads, adding aesthetic identity, a valuable asset, and broadcasting the vitality and quality of life in our community,” Wooten adds.

To build upon Tucson’s rich history of public art and its supporters, TPAC established the new Public Art Partner category.

Nominations are free to submit.  A jury of community members will review the nominations and select one winner for each category.  All nominees receive one free admission to the Lumies Arts and Business Awards Ceremony, where the winners are announced and celebrated.  The event is held each summer at a Tucson landmark.

The Tucson Pima Arts and Business Awards, affectionately known as the “Lumies,” recognize outstanding contributions to the arts by Pima County residents whose work nurtures our community, our economy, and Pima County’s unique identity.

The Awards began in 2001 as the Mayor’s Arts Awards under the leadership of Beth Walkup. In 2005, it was renamed the Tucson Pima Arts and Business Awards to emphasize the relationship between the arts, artists, and local commerce.

“The arts and culture sector continues to be an economic driver for Pima County,” says Roberto Bedoya, TPAC’s executive director.  “Our thriving local arts and culture scene, from galleries to concert venues, theatres to festivals, museums to literary centers, keeps local money local and attracts tourist dollars from across the country.  The Lumies celebrate our arts and culture leaders who work hard and contribute much to our cultural vibrancy.”

Ventana Medical Systems received a Lumie as 2009’s Outstanding Business Partner.

“Having The Ventana Gallery recognized by the community has encouraged us to include nationally recognized artists in our quarterly art shows, like the recent Adriel Heisey Exhibition,” says Cathy Gawronski, chair of the Ventana Medical Systems Gallery.  “Our core purpose, however, is to support burgeoning local artists and guilds who might not otherwise have an opportunity to showcase their work.  We believe the Lumie Award ultimately supports these new artists in bringing more exposure to their works.”

“The Lumie” is the name of the physical award presented to each winner. Designed and produced by local artist Tom Philabaum, each Lumie is a beautiful disc of hand blown glass, crafted to resemble the intricate markings of natural snakeskin.

Everyone in the community is invited to attend the event and to celebrate the contributions of Pima County’s arts and culture movers and shakers.  The ceremony will feature drinks, hors d’oeuvres, and a live musical performance.

“The El Casino Ballroom is really the perfect place for this event,” says Sally Krommes, who coordinated last year’s very successful ceremony for TPAC.  “The architecture and the energy of the ballroom itself feed into the spirit of the Lumies so seamlessly. Everyone had a blast.”

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