Fayetteville artists and art supporters receive 2011 Governor’s Arts, fellowship awards

The 2011 Governor’s Arts Awards ceremony will honor several artists and art supporters from Fayetteville.

This year’s event, which honors recipients of Governor’s Arts Awards and Individual Artist Fellowships, will take place during a luncheon at noon on Oct. 18 in The Peabody Little Rock.

Tickets are $35 and may be purchased by contacting special events/projects program manager Cheri Leffew at 501-324-9766 or by emailing [email protected].

Governor’s Arts Awards recipients

The annual Governor’s Arts Awards program recognizes individuals and corporations for their support of the arts in Arkansas. Recipients are nominated by the public and then voted on by a panel of arts professionals from around Arkansas.

Three awards went to Fayetteville residents this year including:


Mike Shirkey – Folklife Award

Mike Shirkey is founder and host of a two-hour radio program called “The Pickin’ Post,” which features a mix of folk, bluegrass, blues, singer/songwriter interviews and concerts. The show is in its 31st year of programming and airs on KUAF 91.3 FM on Saturdays from 7 to 9 p.m.

Shirkey modified his historic Victorian home on Block Street in Fayetteville to accommodate folk concerts. For 20 years, his house, known as the GoodFolk Productions stage, has been a popular destination for touring folk musicians to perform for sold-out crowds.

He also brought Grammy Award-winning performers to other Fayetteville venues, including the Walton Arts Center and the University of Arkansas Center for Continuing Education.


Larry Foley – Individual Artist Award

Larry Foley is a University of Arkansas professor of journalism and a documentary filmmaker. He has produced award-winning documentary films about Arkansas people, history and culture for 34 years. His films have told the story of acclaimed Arkansas architect E. Fay Jones and the nation’s first national river in “The Buffalo Flows.” His latest film, “Bridge to War Eagle,” is a 30-minute documentary with an environmental message.

His productions have earned him three Emmys from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and nine Emmy nominations in writing, journalistic enterprise, history, cultural history and community service. His work has been broadcast on ABC, CBS, PBS and ESPN.

Garner Family

Hershey and Denise Garner – Patron Award

Hershey and Denise Garner are avid supporters of the arts in Northwest Arkansas. For nearly 20 years, the Garners have provided significant financial support and time to many arts organizations, particularly the Walton Arts Center.

The Garners have served as board or committee members for several organizations and events, including TheatreSquared, the Arts Center of the Ozarks, the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas, Komen Pink Ribbon’s Art for a Cure, Life Styles Inc., Youth Bridge’s “Starry, Starry Night,” Feed Fayetteville’s “Ozark Roots Festival” and the Arkansas Committee for the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Full list of 2011 Governor’s Arts Awards recipients

  • Arts Community Development Award – John Gaudin of North Little Rock
  • Arts in Education Award – Nicole Capri of Little Rock
  • Corporate Sponsorship of the Arts Award – Thoma Thoma of Little Rock
  • Folklife Award – Mike Shirkey of Fayetteville
  • Individual Artist Award – Larry Foley of Fayetteville
  • Patron Award – Denise and Hershey Garner of Fayetteville
  • Judge’s Special Recognition Award – Claire Haun of North Little Rock
  • Lifetime Achievement Award – Vincent Insalaco of North Little Rock

Past Fayetteville recipients
Past Fayetteville recipients of Governor’s Arts Awards include Robert Ginsberg (2010 Arts Community Development Award), Still on the Hill (2010 Folklife Award), Walton Arts Center (2007 Arts in Education Award), Greenwood and Associates Inc. (2007 Corporate Sponsorship of the Arts Award), Charles Banks Wilson (2006 Lifetime Achievement Award), Patricia Relph (2005 Arts in Education Award), Dale Carpenter (2003 Individual Artists Award), Barbara Mashburn (2002 Patron Award), The Bank of Fayetteville (2001 Corporate Sponsorship of the Arts Award), Nancy Hendricks (2000 Arts Community Development Award), M.G. Miller (2000 Encouragement Award), E. Fay Jones (1997 Individual Artists Award) and Billie Starr (1994 Patron Award).

Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship recipients

The $4,000 Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship awards are given annually to artists in Arkansas in recognition of their individual artistic abilities. Recipients are selected by a jury of out-of-state professional artists, writers, performers and art administrators.

The three categories for this year are music composition (folk, jazz, pop), poetry and sculpture/installation art.

Three awards went to Fayetteville residents this year including:


Shannon Wurst – Music Composition

Shannon Wurst is a folk singer and songwriter who has written and recorded three albums, including a children’s album called “Green and Growing,” which encourages children to sing, engage in craft projects and learn about sustainable lifestyles.

In 2009, Wurst was a finalist in the 2009 Kerrville New Folk Songwriting competition, one of Folk Alley’s Best Artists and the winner of the Walnut Valley New Song Contest at the Walnut Valley Music Festival in Winfield, Kan.

Through a grant from the Department of Arkansas Heritage, she was commissioned to write and perform songs about Arkansas for school children. Garrison Keillor, host of “A Prairie Home Companion Radio Program,” picked her as semi-finalist for the program’s Talented Twenties Contest; and she was named 2010 Female Singer/Songwriter of the Year in the Northwest Arkansas Music Awards.


Mary Angelino – Poetry

Mary Angelino is an instructor of composition at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, where she earned a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing with a concentration in poetry. She also earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from California State University in Northridge and an Associate of Arts in English at College of the Canyons in Valencia, Calif.

Her work has been published in Hayden’s Ferry Review; Measure, A Review of Formal Poetry; Best New Poets, 2010; and Diagram. She is senior editor at Linebreak.org, a weekly online magazine of original poetry.


Cynthia King – Poetry

Cynthia King earned a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing with a concentration in poetry from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and a Bachelor of Arts in French Literature and anthropology from Brown University in Providence, R.I. She is the international languages coordinator at Northwest Arkansas Community College in Bentonville.

In 1995, she received the Lily Peter Fellowship in Poetry from the University of Arkansas, and in 2002 she received the Lois Behrman Scholarship from Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vt.

King is active in the Arkansas Foreign Language Teachers Association, where her conference presentations have included “Using Film in the French Classroom” and “A Fistful of Gems: Literature-Based Activities in the French Classroom.”

Full list of 2011 Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship recipients

  • Music Composition (Jazz/Folk/Pop) – Richard Salonen of Farmington
  • Music Composition (Jazz/Folk/Pop) – Rena Wren of Hot Springs
  • Music Composition (Jazz/Folk/Pop) – Shannon Wurst of Fayetteville
  • Poetry – Mary Angelino of Fayetteville
  • Poetry – J. Camp Brown of Fort Smith
  • Poetry – Cindy King of Fayetteville
  • Sculpture/Installation Art – Ty Brunson of Russellville
  • Sculpture/Installation Art – John Rankine of Eureka Springs
  • Sculpture/Installation Art – Carey Voss of Conway