Steve Armstrong - Visual Arts Award
Steve Armstrong creates kinetic wooden constructions often referred to as Automata. His themes are poetic and evocative, sometimes narrative and almost always charged with personal symbolic content.
His work is based in the human figure and realism but he simplifies his forms working in his preferred yellow poplar, a local and easily available wood.
From imaginary thought to a sculpture-in-motion, Steve’s process combines a thorough know-how of drawing, mechanical planning, wood-carving and painting with his own artistic vision. All the figures are carefully carved out of wood by hand, as are the gears working the pieces. His chosen style is the result of combining his background in carpentry with his many interests, including history, science, music, folk art and antiques.
He brings all these elements together in his work.
Silas House - Literary Arts Award
Silas House is the New York Times bestselling author of seven novels, one book of creative fiction and three plays. His latest book is Lark Ascending. He is also a music journalist, environmental activist and columnist. His writings have appeared in many publications.
A former commentator for NPR’s All Things Considered, House is the winner of two Nautilus Awards, the Storylines Prize from the NAV/New York Public Library, an E.B. White Award, and the Southern Book Prize.
In 2022 he was the recipient of the Duggins Prize, the largest award for an LGBTQ writer in the nation. In 2023 he was inducted as Kentucky's Poet Laureate 2023-25.
Silas House teaches at Berea College, where he is the National Endowment for the Humanities Chair, and at the Naslund-Mann Graduate School of Creative Writing. This year he is serving as one of five judges of the National Book Award in Fiction. A native of Eastern Kentucky, Silas now lives in Lexington.
Green Room Exchange - Performance Arts Award
GreenRoom Exchange, founded and directed by lifelong musician Lee Carroll and his wife Connie Milligan, creates international cross-cultural experiences, bringing artists and musicians from other countries to the Bluegrass to work and perform with local artists, thereby expanding our understanding of their cultures, and enriching our community using the universal language of music and art to communicate.
GreenRoom Exchange has demonstrated a serious commitment to their mission of cultural exchange and enrichment through the performance of indigenous music by international artists with whom them have formed friendships. Artists from Cuba, Senegal and Ghana have been invited to Lexington to share their musical heritage, performing to sold-out audiences in the Black Box, as well as other venues.
The name is a reference to a “green room” - the lounge area off stage where performers go to relax.
Lexington Theatre Company - Arts Educator Award
Since its inception in 2015, Lyndy and Jeromy Smith, the founders of The Lexington Theatre Company have been committed to education. Their programs include Main Stage Production Apprenticeships and Internships, the Audience Development Program, Story Cycle and Residencies/Workshops.
These programs provide an opportunity to learn from industry pros, make connections as well as participate in additional master classes and workshops. The newly established Artist Development Program offers opportunities for intensive study with experts in the musical theatre craft year-round. Private coaching is available to artists across the country from 2nd Grade – Seniors.
The Lex shares theatre with the Lexington community through school visits, workshops and other events with its educational outreach department. They promote, teach and celebrate the arts. Theatre skills are life skills.
Heather Lyons - Arts Benefactor Award
Originally an independent film producer and director of work including a documentary on prolific African American artists and social activists Morgan and Marvin Smith that was screened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian Institute, the Library of Congress as well as numerous other venues, Heather Lyons has dedicated the last 22 years of her life in service to the arts community in Kentucky.
Working first as the Individual Artist Program Director for the Kentucky Arts Council, she then led the Living Arts and Science Center through a period of increased outreach, opportunities and growth, leaving after fourteen years to assume her current position as Director, Arts and Cultural Affairs in the Mayor’s Office. Here she has tirelessly championed the Fund for Public Art and introduced the downtown Art Cart program, channeling her passion for the arts to the benefit of all those engaged in the creative industry in Lexington.