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Ames Community Arts Council Hosts 2019 Arts Awards Celebration April 28

The Ames Community Arts Council will host its annual Arts Awards Celebration on Sunday, April 28 at 1:30 p.m. at the Octagon Center for the Arts [427 Douglas Ave., Ames]. The public is invited to join the Arts Council in honoring those who have supported and encouraged the arts through their extraordinary actions and exemplary service to the Ames community. This event is free and open to everyone. Refreshments will be served. Music will be provided by the Fifth of Brass Quintet.

The following awards will be given:

Hazel Hammer Cherished Volunteer: Ben Smith, nominated by Stanley Rabe
Ben Smith is receiving the Hazel Hammer Cherished Volunteer Award. Active with ACTORS since 2009, Ben is there to support every show, whether cast for the stage or working behind the scenes. According to nominator Stanley Rabe, “Ben is dependable, pleasant, and resourceful. He solves problems. Therefore, he is usually one of the first go-to people at ACTORS.”
Bill Pelz Arts Advocacy Award: Sara Compton, nominated by Tammy Koolbeck
Nominated by Tammy Koolbeck, Sara Compton will receive the Bill Pelz Arts Advocacy Award. As a 20+ year staff member at the Iowa State Center, former K-12 music teacher, and music calligraphist, Sara advocates and supports students and adults – whether their interest is in participating or enjoyment of the performing arts – through her work and volunteer activities.

Distinguished Board Member: Lynn McElrath, nominated by Stanley Rabe
Lynn McElrath was nominated by Stanley Rabe to receive the Distinguished Board Member Award. Lynn joined the ACTORS Board of Directors in 2012 as treasurer, and has since held numerous executive positions on the board. Lynn is a “get-it-done and take charge person. She is a leader and support person. And, for an all-volunteer organization, she makes it fun.”

Art in the Workplace: Northcrest Community, nominated by Ronnie Lindeman
Northcrest Community, nominated by Ronnie Lindeman, will be recognized with the Art in the Workplace Award. According to one nominator, in addition to the regular exhibits on display in the main dining room and other public spaces in the Northcrest Community, “Northcrest has an abundance of educational programs, singing groups, instrumental ensembles, children’s choirs, piano recitals, and other entertainment for the enjoyment of this senior living community.” Says another, “The arts are alive and thriving at Northcrest Community!”

Local Treasure: Molly McDonald, nominated by Jennifer Knox
The Local Treasure Award will be given to former farm kid and current Ames resident Molly McDonald. Nominated by Jennifer Knox, Molly has been active in the area poetry, burlesque, arts, and comedy scenes, appearing as her alter ego Max Power. She has a book of poetry, Empty Like a Pocket, and just finished her first novel. Molly’s favorite vegetable is cabbage, and she really digs the color brown.

Art Educator: Anthony Stevens, nominated by Nadav Mer
Art Educator awardee Anthony Stevens, nominated by local business owner Nadav Mer, has been teaching drums and percussion in Ames for many years. Known for his African percussion and drum workshops held regularly all over central Iowa, Anthony works hard to bring world music to local public school children and beyond.

Veronika Ruedenberg Cultural Entrepreneur: Rachel and Bryon Dudley, nominated by Jennifer Knox
Rachel and Bryon Dudley are receiving the Veronika Ruedenberg Cultural Entrepreneur Award. According to nominator Jennifer Knox, “Rachel and Bryon Dudley have shaped the Ames’ music scene with their talent, enthusiasm, and generosity.” Talented musicians in their own right, the two co-own the recording studio, The Spacement, and the local record label, Nova Labs. Nova Labs has released over 100 Iowa albums in the last 5+ years and helped launch the Maximum Ames Music Festival. Their latest performance project, the Uncertainty Festival, began in 2017 and hosts musicians, spoken word, and alternative performance artist from across the country.

Lifetime Achievement: Mark Forbis, nominated by Senior Variety Show
In the words of his peers with the Senior Variety Show, Mark Forbis “is an extraordinary pianist, leader, and curator of artistic performances, offering his services to many organizations, churches, and scores of programs in our community for the past 35 years.” Mark has brought people together to create beautiful music and meaningful theatrical experiences with ACTORS, Ames Choral Society’s Cabaret, numerous churches, and the Senior Variety Show. He has directed and encouraged over 200 senior performers, and inspired thousands in the audiences to recognize the power of performing arts in the lives of seniors. All of this, and more, makes Mark a perfect recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Ames Community Arts Council is supported in part by the City of Ames Commission on the Arts (COTA). For more information about this event, visit our website:

About The Ames Community Arts Council:
The Arts Council, created in 1976, is a 501(3)(c) non-profit organization dedicated to celebrating the arts in our community. The Arts Council serves local artists, art/cultural organizations and businesses, and all the citizens of Ames. The Arts Council is funded through memberships, donations, and grants, including the City of Ames Commission on the Arts. Members include: supporters of the arts, individual artists, non-profit arts organizations, and businesses. For more information about membership, please visit:


Submitted by the Ames Community Arts Council

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