Kentucky’s Governor Matt Bevin recently awarded Centre College’s Norton Center for the Arts with the Community Arts Award, as part of the 2017 Governor’s Awards in the Arts. Executive Director of the Norton Center Steve Hoffman attended the awards ceremony in Frankfort on Feb. 2.
“There is great pride for our team that the Norton Center has been presented this award,” Hoffman said. “Presenting performances and exhibitions and the many engagement activities that go with them is what we do. To be recognized for how these programs affect the various communities to whom we serve is greatly rewarding.”
The Norton Center for the Arts has a rich history of providing important, world-renown artists to Kentucky’s Bluegrass region. In 1973, the Center’s first director, Floyd Herzog, planned an exciting inaugural season, including a dance company from Siberia; poet, actor and singer-songwriter Rod McEuen; the Detroit and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestras, the Cincinnati Ballet Company and our own Kentucky Opera Association.
Years later, the next director, George Foreman, began to add more popular artists, such as Pearl Bailey, Ray Charles, Glenn Campbell and the Temptations and Four Tops to the mix of programs. George was also responsible for co-creating the Great American Brass Band Festival, a much-lauded, nationally recognized event.
“The Norton Center regularly requires visiting performers to also provide engagement activities that deepens the experiences of our community members,” Hoffman added. “Sometimes it is a student matinee for K-12 youth. Other times it is an advanced master class with artists and students in our community. We regularly have nationally known musicians engage with our local musicians in jam sessions we call ‘Gatherings.’
“We even had a string quartet speak to members of Centre’s Economics Club and the Danville Chamber of Commerce about micro-capital investments through their successful Kickstarter campaign,” he continued. “We succeed in our programming when we demonstrate relevancy of the topics with our communities. If the public finds meaning and are more deeply connected, they are more inclined to come to another performance or activity.
In Hoffman’s acceptance letter to Bevin, he shared that this award comes at a great time for the Norton Center.
“We have been building and celebrating community through the arts for many years and receiving this year’s Governor’s Award in the Arts only pushes us to do even more,” the letter stated.
Hoffman shared that the Norton Center continues to accept the challenge to extend Centre’s mission that strives to ensure that its students develop cultural aptitude and creativity throughout the Bluegrass community.
“From hosting the Governor’s School for the Arts to hosting two Vice-Presidential Debates and debate festivals; from providing technically challenging master classes to creating the Arts for the Classroom Ticket Subsidy (ACTS) program that provides free tickets for public school students across ten counties; from bringing in the top traditional artists to the leading emerging artists, the Norton Center provides meaningful ways to engage our communities with top artists,” the letter stated. “And with this Community Arts award, we have an opportunity to use this distinction to develop even greater access and community engagement.”
by Centre News
February 5, 2018
Photo from left to right: Regina Stivers, deputy secretary of the tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet; Steve Hoffman, executive director of the Norton Center; Governor Matt Bevin, Sharon Rogers-Hinkle, box office manager at the Norton Center; and Mark deAraujo, technical director for the Norton Center and associate professor of dramatic arts.