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Leadership in the Arts Awards: Call for Nominations

Man with suit on left smiles with two elderly individuals: one woman with red suit, a man with tan suit.

Nominate visionary arts leaders in Nebraska and Arkansas for $10K award for accomplishments in community engagement and impacts

Mid-America Arts Alliance has opened its call for nominations for two Leadership in the Arts Awards for visionary arts leadership in Nebraska and Arkansas. The award recipients will each receive a $10,000 unrestricted, non-matching award.

The Marian Andersen Leadership in the Arts Award celebrates leaders who continue Andersen’s legacy of creating responsive and innovative opportunities for artists, arts organizations, and audiences in Nebraska.

The Don Munro Leadership in the Arts Award celebrates leaders who continue Munro’s legacy of creating responsive and innovative opportunities for artists, arts organizations, and audiences in Arkansas.

These awards recognize individuals who have demonstrated visionary leadership in the arts exemplified by their accomplishments in community engagement, equitable outcomes, and partnership building, leaving a meaningful impact on those they have served.

Nomination Deadline: Friday, September 1, 2023, 5:00 p.m. Central Time

To learn about the eligibility and nomination process, visit the individual award pages below.

Through their work in the arts, recipients of the Leadership in the Arts Award will have:

  • Demonstrated a history of deep engagement with their community.
  • Created equitable outcomes for communities and populations that face historic and systemic barriers to full participation in society and the arts—examples may include: expanding access for audiences and artists, opening doors for underrepresented voices, fairly distributing resources, and many others.
  • Though not required for eligibility, Mid-America Arts Alliance is particularly interested in recognizing leaders who have made significant advances in the areas of public-private partnerships and international cultural exchange.

Mid-America Arts Alliance acknowledges that long-standing systems and practices within the arts sector have led to significant barriers to equitable access and investment for individuals across communities. Nominations are strongly encouraged for leaders whose work has positively impacted communities and populations identifying as Black, Indigenous, Persons of Color, LGBTQ, Disabled Persons, Persons whose primary language is not English, and/or are from rural and remote communities.

About Marian Andersen
Marian Andersen, Omaha, Nebraska, passed away at the age of 93 on April 28, 2022. Andersen was a founding member of Mid-America Arts Alliance in 1973.

As a University of Nebraska graduate with a degree in journalism, Marian worked for the Lincoln Journal Star before committing herself to a life of service at the local, state, and national level. The first woman to chair the University of Nebraska foundation, she served as a board member for local and national groups that include Doane college, Joslyn Art Museum, the Mid-America Arts Alliance, and the Public Broadcasting System.

Andersen was elected to the national board of governors for the American Red Cross, becoming vice chair responsible for hiring Elizabeth Dole as the organization’s president in 1991. Soon after in 1994, she was named the United Way of the Midlands Citizen of the Year and was a cofounder of the Alexis de Tocqueville Society, a group of contributors who donate a minimum of $10,000 to the annual United Way campaign.

A recipient of the Distinguished Nebraskalander Award from the Nebraskaland Foundation, she was named outstanding sustainer by the Junior League of Omaha. She was past president of Planned Parenthood and co-chair—along with her husband—of Nebraska Shakespeare.

About Don Munro
Don Munro, Hot Springs, Arkansas, passed away at the age of 94 on April 27, 2022. Munro had recently been added to the Arkansas Walk of Fame in Hot Springs in 2021. His business accomplishments were many, but he will be most remembered for his philanthropic endeavors for which he became the first recipient of the Pew Foundation’s American Philanthropy Award. He was awarded the Roots and Wings Award and the Lugean Chilcote Award from the Arkansas Community Foundation, which he led as president for 10 years. He served on the Mid-America Arts Alliance board of directors from 2005 to 2022. He was an emeritus board member of Mid-America Arts Alliance at the time of his death.

He worked tirelessly on increasing access to the performing arts in rural Arkansas, fostering the arts and artists of Arkansas, and was busily raising contributions for a performing arts center to serve the needs of small communities.

Leave Your Legacy
With these two Leadership in the Arts awards, we honor Marian and Don’s legacy as tireless volunteers in support of and advocacy for the arts.

Learn more about making a lasting impact on the arts in our region by contacting DeMarcus Akeem Suggs, director of development at giving@maaa.org.


Photography: M-AAA President & CEO Todd Stein with Marian Andersen and Don Munro