JEFFERSON CITY - Special honors will be paid to former Gov. and Mrs. Warren Hearnes of Charleston by the Missouri Arts Council in February.
The MAC board voted unanimously to present the Hearnes with the Ruby MAC, a distinctive Missouri Arts Council 40th Anniversary Award. Gov. Matt Blunt and First Lady Melanie Blunt will present the award at a public ceremony at 2 p.m. Feb. 9 in the Capitol Building Rotunda.
According to Beverly Strohmeyer, MAC interim executive director, the Hearnes have a history of supporting the arts in Missouri.
"It's my understanding that about the same time the NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) was founded, Betty Hearnes felt it was important that arts in Missouri be supported with public funds also," said Strohmeyer. "She had a lot to do with making things happen in Missouri and Gov. Hearnes was the governor when the legislation was enacted."
According to Strohmeyer, the Hearnes have continued to be active in the arts and she pointed out she recently met Mrs. Hearnes in connection with starting an arts council in Charleston.
In addition to the Hearnes, Missouri Art Awards will be presented to others from across Missouri. The awards are Missouri's highest honors to individuals and institutions that have made profound and lasting contributions to the cultural and artistic climate of the state.
Each year a Missouri artist is selected to create the awards that are presented to the recipients at the ceremony. Jeff Johnston of Nixa created original works of art for this year's MAC awards.
Sam Stang created a golden ruby glass bowl for the Hearnes' unique award, the Ruby MAC. Stang does strong and intricate work using traditional European glassblowing techniques. His work is available at his studio gallery in Augusta and many galleries nationwide.
The Missouri Arts Council, the state's grant-making agency for the arts, provides approximately $3 million in assistance to nonprofit organizations throughout Missouri. A division of the Missouri Department of Economic Development, the Missouri Arts Council is the second oldest, state-funded arts agency in the country. The Council was established in 1965 to encourage and stimulate the growth, development and appreciation of the arts in Missouri.
The Missouri Arts Council board consists of 15 volunteer citizens from across the state who are appointed by the governor. The board meets regularly to provide direction in policy making and programmatic oversight.