2012 Award Winners

ADVOCATE ACE: Parkland Art Gallery (watch video)

Parkland Art GalleryOpen to the public year round and free of charge, the Parkland Art Gallery is a teaching gallery, striving to serve the educational and cultural needs of our diverse community. The gallery has an extensive exhibition calendar that includes seven exhibitions per year, including State of the Art: National Biennial Ceramics Invitation on alternating years, Art and Design Faculty Exhibition, two juried exhibitions of work by students in the Parkland College Arts and Design, and the Graphic Design program. Other programming includes, artists receptions, gallery talks, broadcasted artist interviews on Parkland College TV Station, Global Lens Film series, High School Art Seminar, gallery tours, and High Noon with the Artists lecture series.

In the studio, students learn to prepare their work and understand the professional requirements of exhibiting their work in a professional space. The gallery's unique location on the Parkland College Campus allows students the opportunity to visualize college life and imagine a possible career in the arts beyond school. The gallery completes the circle by teaching college students to become professionals in the arts. By introducing significant visual arts close to home in the Parkland Community, these programs can lay the foundation for a lifelong interest in the arts.

ARTIST ACE: Lisa Meid Hamelberg (watch video)

Lisa Meid HamelbergLisa Meid Hamelberg's experience ranges from founding and editing a 32-page local arts, entertainment and culture weekly to a brief stint writing, producing and hosting a lifestyle segment on an ABC affiliate and working with a creative team on hundreds of content and branding projects. This hands-on experience has naturally shaped her approach to writing - that being to read everything, talk to everyone, and then reread everything.

For the past seven years, she has brought her writing, concepting and media experience to her positions as Creative Director and Senior Writer at SURFACE 51 in Champaign, IL and to project-based assignments of every sort. Whether speechwriting, ghost writing or building a brand construct, Lisa's writerly curiosity and attention to detail keep her constantly abreast of existing and emerging mediums, industries and endeavors. Recently, she's once again begun work on a collection of essays, due out sometime before her 70th birthday. 

Currently serving on the board of Champaign County CASA, Lisa has also served as President of Champaign's Downtown Association and on the board of Champaign County's Convention & Visitor's Bureau. A food aficionado, wannabe gardener, and mom, Lisa spends her free time "creative directing" everything from dinner party menus to baby shower invitations. 

VOLUNTEER ACE: Jamie Gossett (watch video)

Jamie GossettJamie Gossett is a long-time, ardent supporter of the Champaign Park District's Youth Theatre program. His support of the program, from advisory to financial to set design, made the 2012 Youth Theatre production of The Wizard of Oz among the very best the program has put on, and Gossett's volunteer efforts were central to this success.

While his involvement started with his sons desire to perform, his passionate support stems from his desire to create not only a more memorial experience for the audience but also for all of the children in the production. 

He is the owner of Gossett & Associates -- a brokerage firm in Champaign, and holds a bachelors of science in finance from University of Illinois.

BUSINESS ACE: Adams Outdoor Advertising (watch video)

Adams OutdoorFounded in 1984, Adams Outdoor Advertising is among the largest public or privately-held outdoor advertising companies in the United States.  Adams operates over ten thousand traditional, spectacular and alternative out-of-home advertising displays in fourteen markets and their surrounding areas in the Midwest, Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states.  They are proud to be part of an innovative, ever changing creative medium. During the later part of 2011, Adams Outdoor approached 40 North | 88West about a partnership to further fan the communities' creative flames by opening a brand new gallery in Champaign County, Sky Gallery.

Sky Gallery is an outlet for local artists in Champaign County to display their art on possibly the largest canvas in town: billboards.  Sky Gallery became an opportunity for artists to share his or her creativity with the community, while also providing Adams with the opportunity to support the local art scene.

Adams' mission is to reinvent the medium known as outdoor and to prove that outdoor advertising is more powerful than anyone has yet to imagine.  They look forward to continuing to cultivate creativity in Champaign County as Sky Gallery will open once again Spring 2013.

TEACHER ACE: Betty Allen (watch video)

Betty AllenBetty Allen has taught Dance and Drama to students in kindergarten through fifth grade in Urbana School District #116 since 1999. She has served as the Elementary Fine Arts Coordinator since 2004.  Betty holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Dance Education from Illinois State University, a K-9 classroom-teaching certificate from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, and a Master of Arts in Education degree from Greenville College.  She is an arts advocate in her school district as well as in the Champaign-Urbana community.  She is proud to be teaching in a school district that values the arts and has made a commitment to providing arts specialists for art, dance, drama, and music for all Urbana elementary students. 

STUDENT ACE: Peyton Stewart (watch video) 

Peyton StewartPeyton Stewart is a 2012 graduate of the High School of Saint Thomas More in Champaign. She started her jewelry line, Jewelry By Peyton Stewart, while still in high school and has sold at retail outlets like Spa Envy, Jennifer North and Checkered Moon. The proceeds of these sales (over $3000) were used to form a school lunch fund at STM that has now raised over $16,000. This summer, Stewart volunteered for 10 days at a school for the deaf and blind in Xela, Guatemala as part of the Global Leadership Adventures   program. There she worked with students, and helped build benches and a play structure.  Already skilled in song writing, singing, ukulele, hoola hoops, and graphic design, she is strengthening her talents at the School of Art & Design Foundations program at the University of Illinois. 

LIFETIME ACE: Ollie Watts Davis (watch video)

Ollie Watts DavisOllie Watts Davis is Professor of Music and Music Director/Conductor of the award-winning University of Illinois Black Chorus. She is also founder of the Black Sacred Music Symposium, author of TALKS My Mother Never Had With Me (Volumes I and II), and executive producer for CD recordings, Here's One, and Have Thine Own Way, Lord. Her New York debut at Carnegie Hall was followed by National Public Radio broadcasts with the nation's leading orchestras, opera performances, and recitals at esteemed venues, including the West Virginia Governor's Mansion. For over 30 years she has served at Canaan Baptist Church (Urbana, Illinois), where she is currently the Director of the Music Ministry. West Virginia native Ollie Watts Davis holds the Bachelor of Science from West Virginia Tech University; Master of Arts from West Virginia University; and Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts  from UIUC. In 2008, Dr. Davis was named University Scholar, the highest recognition bestowed upon a member of the faculty at the University of Illinois.

Since her arrival at the U of I, Ms. Davis has served as a tireless teacher and mentor for countless young people in the performing arts. Her national and international reputation has brought distinction to the School of Music and she serves as the finest model for young students in voice to emulate.