NAC Director to Receive National Award

The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) has named Suzanne Wise, executive director of the Nebraska Arts Council, the recipient of its 2018 Gary Young Award. The award recognizes an executive director who has made an extraordinary contribution to public support for the arts at the state, regional and national levels. The award will be presented on November 3 during NASAA’s annual conference, Assembly 2018, in Baltimore, Maryland.

Suzanne Wise has been executive director of the Nebraska Arts Council (NAC) since 2003. Before her appointment, she served on the NAC staff managing grant programs, special initiatives and the 1% for Art program. She was part of the development team that established the Nebraska Cultural Endowment, a public-private partnership that raises and invests funds for NAC and Humanities Nebraska. The endowment is currently at $20 million and is on track to have assets of $30 million by 2029.

During Wise’s tenure as director, NAC has collaborated with the Nebraska Department of Education in developing the state’s first fine arts curriculum standards, reestablished the Nebraskans for the Arts advocacy organization and created an artist showcase gallery at the NAC offices in Omaha’s Old Market district.

Wise has served on the boards of the Lincoln Arts Council, Sheldon Film Theatre (now Ross Media Arts Center), National Assembly of State Arts Agencies and Mid-America Arts Alliance. Her service to the field also includes serving on grant review panels at the federal, state and local levels and providing facilitating services for area colleges and universities.

Wise has degrees in art history from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the University of Kansas. She held curatorial positions at Sheldon Art Museum in Lincoln, Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha and Block Gallery at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and has taught at Creighton University and the Lincoln and Omaha campuses of the University of Nebraska. She was awarded an Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Hixon-Lied College of Fine & Performing Arts.

“NASAA applauds Suzanne Wise’s receipt of the Gary Young Award, our field’s highest honor for executive leadership,” said NASAA President and CEO Pam Breaux. “The constructive collaborations she has piloted throughout her state, her policy acumen, and her commitment to arts education and advocacy have greatly advanced the public value of the arts in Nebraska. NASAA is pleased to recognize Suzanne’s many accomplishments with this award.”

The Gary Young Award was established by the New England Foundation for the Arts to honor the memory of a man who made numerous contributions to the state arts council movement in the United States, and to provide recognition to those who carry on his tradition of leadership in this field.

Founded in 1968 and celebrating 50 years of service in 2018, the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies is the nonpartisan membership organization that serves the nation’s state and jurisdictional arts agencies. NASAA helps state arts agencies fulfill their many citizen service roles by providing knowledge services, representation and leadership programs that strengthen the state arts agency community. NASAA also serves as a clearinghouse for data and research about public funding and the arts. To learn more about NASAA and state arts agencies, visit www.nasaa-arts.org.

 

Former NCE ED to receive 2018 Sower Award

Humanities Nebraska announced that Pamela Hilton Snow of Ashland will receive the 2018 Sower Award in the Humanities. Mrs. Snow will be honored on Tuesday, October 9 at a benefit reception and dinner held at Lincoln’s Embassy Suites hotel. The 23rd Annual Governor’s Lecture in the Humanities featuring Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jon Meacham will follow at the Lied Center for Performing Arts.

The Sower Award is presented annually to an individual who has made “a significant contribution to public understanding of the humanities in Nebraska.” This contribution can be through any combination of time, expertise, or resources, and the selection committee examines how the nominee has helped inspire and enrich personal and public life in our state through the humanities.

Born and raised in Lincoln, Pamela Hilton Snow is known for her passion and commitment to the humanities in Nebraska. In his nomination letter, Robert Nefsky referred to Mrs. Snow as “among those Nebraskans whose contributions to the humanities have made a real difference.”

A founding board member (1999-2006) and former executive director (2006-2014) of the Nebraska Cultural Endowment, Mrs. Snow’s long history of serving the humanities includes being a board member (1996-2006) and chair (1999-2000) of Nebraska Humanities Council, and board member (1999-2006) of the Nebraska Foundation for the Humanities. She was also instrumental in bringing the Great Plains Chautauqua to Grand Island, planning and consulting for the Nebraska Book Festival, and recruiting Humanities Nebraska board members.

Mrs. Snow has served on several other boards and is a current board member of the Cooper Foundation.  She travelled to other state humanities councils as a National Endowment for the Humanities site visitor and consultant, and helped strengthen many other Nebraska institutions.

Edythe Manza, retired director of the National Endowment for the Humanities’ (NEH) Federal-State Partnership Division, wrote from Maryland, “During my time at NEH, I worked with dozens of site visitors. Pamela Hilton Snow was one of the best…[She] understands the importance of collaboration. She represented NEH in the highest professional way while also bringing distinction to Nebraska, its cultural institutions generally, and Humanities Nebraska in particular.”

According to Kim West Dinsdale, Mrs. Snow is known for her talent to create successful teams through her incredible leadership skills. “Her name is synonymous with the Humanities,” Dinsdale wrote. “It is out of respect for Pam and all that she has done that people are eager to say, ‘Yes!’”

Mrs. Snow is credited for her leadership, organization, philanthropy, knowledge and love for the arts and humanities. She is also a talented writer and photographer. Her hard work in Nebraska, specifically the Grand Island area, led to the creation and enhancement of many institutions of the humanities that have benefitted countless communities.

The 2018 Governor’s Lecture in the Humanities is presented by Humanities Nebraska, along with co-sponsors E.N. Thompson Forum on World Issues and the University of Nebraska. The free public lecture by Jon Meacham is titled, “Tumult, Tragedy and Hope: America in 1968 from a Half Century’s Perspective.”

The 7:30 p.m. lecture is free and open to the public. Table sponsorships and tickets for the pre-lecture benefit reception and dinner are now available for purchase. For more details visit www.HumanitiesNebraska.org.

From the board and staff of the Nebraska Cultural Endowment, congratulations to Pamela Hilton Snow for being awarded the 2018 Sower Award in the Humanities. This award recognizes Mrs. Snow’s tremendous leadership, commitment and dedication to furthering the humanities in Nebraska. She has, and continues to, cultivate a legacy which has empowered communities and inspired many.

Please consider joining the Nebraska Cultural Endowment and Humanities Nebraska, along with the Nebraska Arts Council, as we, too, cultivate a legacy for the arts and humanities in Nebraska.