2016 Nickel Plate Arts Award Winners

2016 Nickel Plate Arts Award Winners

Nickel Plate Arts launched the Nickel Plate Arts Awards in 2016 as a way to celebrate local leadership in the arts. We interact with incredible people every day who are working so very hard to keep creativity thriving in the Nickel Plate Arts region, and we want to share their stories and success with everyone.

During our inaugural call for nominations in August, the names of 22 different local arts leaders across our four categories were submitted by their peers, friends, patrons and coworkers. Four people took home the beautiful trophies hand-made by artists Craig Helming and Demaris Gaunt on Sept. 17 during our Fourth Anniversary Celebration and Awards Ceremony. Those four winners follow:

Emerging Artist of the Year: Kat Ho

Kat Ho is shaping the arts culture in Noblesville daily. She is guiding young artists through her work as the Art Director at the Boys & Girls Club of Noblesville and making a few waves among fellow artists by creating artwork that is just a little edgier and more unusual that we may be used to. She is just starting out on her artistic adventure, and also recently married. In fact, she cut her honeymoon short in order to attend our awards ceremony.

Emerging Patron of the Year: Alaina Shonkwiler

During the second half of 2016, Alaina Shonkwiler oversaw the completion of several public art projects, including a mural, a pocket park and artistically-embellished crosswalks. As the City of Noblesville’s economic development assistant director and convener of the Noblesville Arts Council, Alaina has demonstrated a talent for building collaboration across sectors and encouraging cooperation among a highly diverse group of organizations, individuals and agencies. Recently, her efforts led to the formalization of a downtown arts district here in Noblesville, an achievement which is sure to bare fruit for years to come. Meanwhile, she also has been working to build her own collection of local art, making her personal investment in local artists a priority.

Artist of the Year: Lesley Haflich

Lesley Haflich challenged herself to take on (and afford) a larger studio space and has since blossomed in a way that should be an inspiration to us all. Her productivity skyrocketed, and her style has branched out into new categories that highlight her creative energy. She has achieved not only commercial success this year, but also has fostered collaboration among artists of all kinds. As a member of the Hamilton County Artists’ Association, she chaired Art Fair on the Square for the second year in 2016 — with a great deal of success — and she regularly reaches out to other artists to work with them, socialize with them, or just give them a pat on the back. She also has offered wine-and-canvas-type events, and recently designed and taught her own acrylic painting class at Nickel Plate Arts. Through these classes, she has proven to be a supportive, insightful teacher, helping non-artists uncover a love for art and painting. Her positive spirit has endeared her to many, and has inspired people to want to invest in her work and career. And her great skill as a visual artist has made her work especially desireable to those of us who envy her talent.

Arts Patron of the Year: The Noblesville Parks Foundation

The Noblesville Parks Foundation recently moved into new territory, exploring new collaborations that allow them to invest in two of our community’s most precious resources: nature and our children. This group leveraged their relationships with Noblesville High School to bring the art of emerging artists into a new venue and borrow artists’ visions of our local community to help promote greater appreciation for our local parks. Anne Merrill accepted the award on behalf of the Foundation.

Casey Kenley
casey@caseykenley.com