Arts Council seeks nominations for Arts Person of the Year

Published 3:39 pm Wednesday, January 3, 2024

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The Stanly County Arts Council is currently seeking nominations for the Arts Person of the Year award.

This award was created in 2014 by the Arts Council to recognize those who have made a significant positive impact on the arts in Stanly County, and who have worked diligently to support, promote and create quality arts experiences for the whole community. Previous winners include Charlotte Maness, Angela Moore, Wes Tucker, Carmella Hedrick, Tim Harris, John Williams, Aza Hudson, Kent Harkey/Edna-Lipe Harkey and Tim Hedrick.

Anyone who lives or works in Stanly County can nominate someone for this award. The nominees should also live or work in Stanly County and should meet the previously mentioned award criteria.

Nominate someone by visiting the Arts Council’s website at and clicking on the “Community Awards” tab, visiting their Facebook page and filling out the Google form or request a nomination form by calling 704-982-8118 or emailing

The deadline for nominations is Jan. 26.

Along with the Arts Person of the Year award, the Arts Council is also accepting nominations for the Fine Arts Educator of the Year award, affectionately known as the “Jim Kennedy” award in memory of long-time arts advocate, teacher and coach James D. Kennedy.

The award recognizes a fine arts teacher in the Stanly County public school system who has made a significant positive impact on the arts in education and has inspired students to pursue, appreciate and respect the fine arts.

Previous winners include Lori Watson, music teacher at Stanfield and Locust elementary schools; Michelle Osborne, art teacher at Central Elementary; Stacy Bottoms, art teacher at West Stanly Middle; Jessica Kiser, band/music teacher at Albemarle Middle; Frank Poolos, band director at North Stanly High; Rebekah Crisco, art teacher at North Stanly Middle; Derek Smith, band director at West Stanly High; Randy Fike, art teacher at West Stanly High; and Wanda Maness, art teacher at South Stanly High. In 2021, due to the challenges that all arts teachers faced during the Covid pandemic, all 31 fine arts teachers in elementary, middle and high schools were recognized with classroom grants, funded by the Stanly County Arts Council, Uwharrie Bank and a grant from the Albemarle Rotary Club.
Nominees for Fine Arts Educator of the Year Award can only be made by the principals at Stanly County Schools.

Students and parents who know of an exceptional fine arts teacher are encouraged to notify their school principal as soon as possible and express their support for that teacher. Nomination information has already been sent to the schools.

Both awards will be presented at the Arts Council’s Celebration of the Arts March 23 at the Stanly County Agri-Civic Center. The awards ceremony will be held at 12 p.m. The Celebration of the Arts is free and open to the public from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The recipient of the Arts Person of the Year award will be honored with a $250 donation to the arts group of their choosing in Stanly County. The Jim Kennedy award recipient will receive a $250 classroom grant to help them purchase classroom supplies and materials.

For the latest information on the arts in Stanly County, visit the or “Like” them on Facebook and follow them on Instagram. Its office is inside the Stanly County Agri-Civic Center, in Suite G. Call Renee VanHorn, executive director, at 704-982-8118 or email for more information.

The Stanly County Arts Council was founded in 1974. It continues to promote and support all art forms in the community. Its mission is to encourage and promote broad-based cultural and educational activities in the arts throughout Stanly County. The Stanly County Arts Council is supported by private donations and by the NC Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources, with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.