The hard work and dedication of individuals and organizations to the arts community was honored in Arts Quincy’s annual George M. Irwin Arts Awards which was presented today (Friday) at the Quincy Exchange Club meeting. The group recognized outstanding work by an arts organization, individual teaching artist, volunteer, and business leadership. The winners were:

Arts Organization: Quinsippi Needleworkers. A little know treasure in the community, the Quinsippi Needleworkers have been stitching tirelessly for the last 27 years. The group is a part of the national Embroiderer’s Guild of America and currently has 22 members. They use their craft in many community outreach projects, such as making their “Wee Care” gowns, donated to families who have lost a newborn, and providing needlework kits for people staying at the Hospitality House. The groups current President is Ann Bergman who recently won Best of Show and multiple First Place ribbons for her needlework at the Illinois State Fair and Adams County Fair.

Individual Artist/Teacher: Rebecca Hoskins. “Miss Becky”, as she is affectionately known to her students, saw the lack of arts education in Quincy’s elementary schools and decided to make a difference. Hoskins works with the schools to develop art curriculum. At Ellington Elementary, she provides an art class to every student, in 15 classrooms, once a month, with the help of Arts Quincy’s Instant Arts program.

Individual Volunteer Leadership: Bret Austin. Serving on numerous boards and heading many community projects, Austin has been a leader in the arts for many years. During his time on the board of the Quincy Art Center, he helped cultivate many award-winning programs, bring art into the schools and working to secure an endowment fund for long-term stability. Austin continues to be an annual sponsor of the Midsummer Arts Faire. He also helped grow The District’s annual Blues in the District program. Currently, Austin is working closely with Gallery Solaro to develop the Quincy Brewery Arts Project.

Business Leadership: Knapheide Manufacturing. For generations, Knapheide Manufacturing has shown spirit of generosity and community betterment. They provide essential financial support and sponsorships to several arts organizations in Quincy, including the Quincy Civic Music Association, Quincy Symphony Orchestra, Quincy Community Theatre and Arts Quincy.

Nominations for the awards were open to the public. Award winners are recognized for their service to the community. They also receive a commemorative plaque provided by award sponsors WGEM, the Herald-Whig and the City of Quincy.

The arts in Quincy mean business, providing over $15 million in direct economic activity and over $500,000 in revenue for local government. Arts Quincy’s national award-winning programs provide arts in education for area students, insure cost effective arts services, and attract new dollars to our local economy.