2020 Recipients Of State’s Highest Honor In The Arts Announced

(UNDATED) – The Indiana Arts Commission in partnership with the Office of the Governor announced the 2020 recipients of the Governor’s Arts Award. 

Originally presented in 1973, these awards recognize excellence in artistic achievement, philanthropy, arts education, and leadership in the arts and are presented biennially at a public event. The public event for the 2020 recipients has been postponed to 2021 due to the public health crisis.

More information about the public event, including the date, will be available early next year.

From right to left – Jim Bodenmiller, Advocate (West Lafayette, IN), Michael Cleveland,, Musician (Henryville, IN) , Hurley Goodall, Advocate (Muncie, IN) ,John Green, Author (Indianapolis, IN), Harrison Center for the Arts, Arts Organization (Indianapolis, IN), Robert and Barbara Stevens, Advocates (Columbus, IN) and Amy Oelsner, Musician (Bloomington, IN)

2020 Governor’s Arts Awards recipients: 

  • Jim Bodenmiller, Advocate (West Lafayette, IN) – Jim’s work on behalf of the arts has had a long history of impact in the Tippecanoe County region. He has served on the board of many arts institutions, with a leadership style that was instrumental in putting several on a path to sustainability. As an IAC Commissioner, and later as chair, Jim oversaw the implementation of the Regional Arts Partner system which continues today as a successful model for equitably distributing funds to all the state’s 92 counties. In 1997, Jim retired from Eli Lilly after 35 years with the company. He continues as a strong advocate for the arts in the state, presenting to legislators and committees of the General Assembly.
  • Michael Cleveland, Musician (Henryville, IN)  – With a Grammy win and a record-setting 12 wins as Fiddle Player of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association, fiddler Michael Cleveland’s indomitable spirit, rare talent and work ethic have brought him to the pinnacle of his profession. His masterful playing attracts an all-star roster of guests on his 2019 release, TALL FIDDLER. The album, co-produced by Jeff White and Sean Sullivan along with Cleveland,  is peppered with the same level of musical potency that first lit a fire in Cleveland, prompting him to form his band Flamekeeper, recently profiled in the inspiring documentary Flamekeeper: The Michael Cleveland Story, and take the stage as a touring musician.
  • Hurley Goodall, Advocate (Muncie, IN) – Born in 1927, Hurley graduated from Muncie Central High School in 1945, worked in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from 1945-47 and was a civil rights leader in the 1950s-60s. In 1976, he co-authored a book entitled A History of Negroes in Muncie. In 1980, he presented the Black Muncie History Collection to the Ball State University Bracken Library where it is still available in its Archives and Special Collections. Hurley Goodall was instrumental in the development of the Indiana Arts Commission Arts Trust and the passage of the enabling legislation for the Arts Trust.
  • John Green, Author (Indianapolis, IN) – Green is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Looking for AlaskaAn Abundance of Katherines, Paper Towns, The Fault in Our Stars, and Turtles All the Way Down. He is also the coauthor, with David Levithan, of Will Grayson, Will Grayson. He was the 2006 recipient of the Michael L. Printz Award, a 2009 Edgar Award winner, and has twice been a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Green’s books have been published in more than 55 languages and over 24 million copies are in print. John grew up in Orlando, Florida before attending Indian Springs School and then Kenyon College. He currently lives in Indianapolis with his family.
  • Harrison Center for the Arts, Arts Organization (Indianapolis, IN) – he Harrison Center is a force for cultural development in Indianapolis and a model for community arts, education, and urban revitalization programs across America. The organization addresses community problems with cultural solutions: art, music, education, and grassroots activism. The Harrison Center also cultivates emerging art patrons by redefining the boundaries of artist and audience: everyone is part of the art.
  • Robert and Barbara Stevens, Advocates (Columbus, IN) – Since moving to Columbus, Indiana in 1985, Bob and Barbara Stevens have been leaders in business and supporters of the arts. The Stevens believe in giving back and leaving a legacy for their community and Columbus has benefited from their support of numerous arts and community-based organizations. Their commitment to Columbus and the surrounding area can be seen in the range of projects, causes and Indiana artists they have supported including the Columbus Area Arts Council, Columbus Indiana Philharmonic Orchestra, the New Commons Building in Columbus, Indiana University J Irwin Miller Architecture Program in Columbus, the Brown County Art Gallery Expansion and the new Visitor Center at the T C Steele State Historic Site in Brown County.

2020 Governor’s Emerging Artist Award recipient: 

  • Amy Oelsner, Musician (Bloomington, IN) – Amy Oelsner’s homemade pop songs sparkle with these eternal truths: that story-telling is part of being alive, and excavating the past is part of growth. Oelsner, who records as Amy O, is a lifer of the indie-pop underground. Her latest, Shell, brims with poetic granular details of everyday life; it’s her third studio album, and tenth including her many years of home recordings. In addition to music, Amy was the Assistant Director of Rhino’s Youth Center and led the Zine Writing Program, which encouraged adolescents to share their own stories and engage with the public in creative ways. More recently, Oelsner has dug even deeper into her work as an educator and arts organizer. She’s been teaching songwriting at Ivy Tech Community College and is the Founder/Director of Girls Rock Bloomington, a music camp for girls, trans and non-binary youth that teaches positive self-esteem and self-expression through music education and mentorship.