2007 Award Winners

EDUCATION ACE: Robin Kearton

As founder and director of both the Bow-Dacious String Band and the newly formed C4A Champaign County Center for the Arts in Lincoln Square Mall, Robin Kearton strives to create a space for art in our community. Along with her work with Bow-Dacious and C4A, she is serving on the Urbana Arts Task Force, teaches private lessons and performs with the C-U Symphony, Prairie Ensemble and numerous other groups. The Bow-Dacious String Band's members, ages 6-18, have played at the Millenium Park in Chicago, at the Krannert Center, the Virginia Theatre, and many other venues. Robin Kearton began the Community Center for the Arts in 2006 to try and make arts education accessible for everyone.

MEDIA ACE: Jay Rosenstein

U of I journalism professor and independent filmmaker Jay Rosenstein is the creator of the documentary "The Amasong Chorus: Singing Out," which first aired nationally to public television audiences in 2004. His film gave Amasong a standing in the wider arts community, garnering the group national media attention while being viewed by over 767,000 individuals. "Singing Out" reached out, through the medium of television, to people scattered all across North America, effecting lives for the better while telling the story of Amasong. The impact of the documentary is still being felt by the group, earning it new fans, supporting its fundraising efforts, and bringing recognition to the arts in Champaign-Urbana by highlighting a thriving and unique chorus.

ADVOCACY ACE: Jon "Cody" Sokolski

One Main Development Chief Executive Officer Jon "Cody" Sokolski is actively involved in advocating on behalf of the arts, culture and entertainment of Champaign County. He recently served on the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts Marquee Council, as well as with the Champaign County Economic Development Corporation, and was co-founder of 40 North | 88 West, which he currently serves as an active member and advisor. Cody has shown continued and unqualified support of the art that lives here, contributing his time, space and financial resources and informing and encouraging the public to participate in our community's vibrant arts scene. In November of 2006, Cody and his wife, Marci Dodds, were recognized as philanthropists of the year by the East Central Illinois Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. 

SPOTLIGHT ACE: Ebertfest, presented by Roger Ebert and the University of Illinois College of Communications - award accepted by Mary Susan Britt, UIUC College of Communications.

Hosted and programmed by Chicago Sun Times film critic Roger Ebert, Ebertfest has put Champaign County on the map as the central Illinois venue for a major annual film festival featuring dozens of movies, panel discussions, book signings, live music performance, and more. Now entering its tenth year, Ebertfest has given Champaign County national standing as a venue for artists of all kinds - from writers and directors to producers, actors and critics - attracting nationwide media attention to our community from CNN, CBS and numerous other outlets.


Danielle was a leader of volunteer efforts to create a nonprofit arts center in Downtown Urbana - efforts which resulted in a new home for the Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center. The UC-IMC now houses numerous artists and arts organizations, a community radio station (WRFU), a large performance space, the Cherry Alley artists studios, and more. Danielle worked tirelessly to rehab the center's interior spaces and turn them over to artists. She was also a leader in the creation of the Public Arts Task Force in Urbana, a volunteer group now creating a plan for how the arts may have a permanent base of support within the City of Urbana. A member of the Urbana City Council, she has also supported the creation of the Urbana Public Arts program.

BUSINESS ACE: Pages For All Ages Bookstore

A locally-owned and operated bookstore, Pages for All Ages spotlights local musicians and artists throughout its store in Savoy and supports local performing arts organizations with its generous financial contributions. The business displays works by local artists on their walls, hosts reading and discussion groups, poetry events and booksignings by local authors, features musical groups in their café on a weekly basis, and provides a venue for local artists and authors.


Dan Perrino taught at Urbana High School in the 1950s, going on to revitalize the Music Extension program at the University of Illinois in the 60s. As dean of special programs and services at the University of Illinois in the early 70s, Dan recognized needs in the university and town and set forth to fill them, using a rich and powerful blend of arts and cultural opportunities. He was instrumental in the creation of the African-American Cultural Program, the Black Chorus, La Casa Cultural Latina, the Krannert Center Student Association, Quad Day, Medicare 7, 8 or 9, and many, many other projects and program too numerous to mention. During Dan's work in the School of Music in the 1980s and 1990s, he dramatically increased the opportunities available for student leadership and the quality of student life. He taught an exceptional course in the College of Fine and Applied Arts called "Exploring the Arts". In the 90s, Dan established arts and cultural activity programming for senior alumni and retired faculty through the University of Illinois Alumni Association. Even now, in the Urbana Rotary club, Dan is known as one of the members who keeps arts and culture flowing through their members' lives.


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