Barnes to be honored with award: Arts Center director recipient of 2013 the Governor’s Award for the ArtsThe recipient of a prestigious statewide award for her involvement in the arts in Jamestown calls herself “selfish” and not deserving of the honor. Taylor Barnes, director of the Arts Center, is the 2013 recipient of the Governor’s Award for the Arts in the individual category.
By: By Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
The recipient of a prestigious statewide award for her involvement in the arts in Jamestown calls herself “selfish” and not deserving of the honor.
Taylor Barnes, director of the Arts Center, is the 2013 recipient of the Governor’s Award for the Arts in the individual category.
“I want to live in a world where there’s creativity and if it’s not here you have to make it here — so I’ve been primarily selfish,” Barnes said. “I shouldn’t get an award for being selfish.”
She also has a problem accepting an award when it’s been a team effort since she started at the Arts Center in 1982.
“What’s difficult about this for me, granted I’ve been doing this a long time, but never in isolation,” Barnes said. “…We have a great staff and great support from our board of directors.”
The Arts Center staff nominated Barnes for the award given out every two years.
“She raised her children, ran a printing business with her husband and still made time to be an advocate for the arts and be involved in Arts Center activities,” the staff wrote. “Taylor has always been working to keep arts an integral part of the community.”
Angela Martini, advertising and public relations coordinator, Sally Jeppson, gallery manager, Jessica Christy, education coordinator, and Bonnie Tressler, former Arts Center employee, all penned the letter to the North Dakota Council on the Arts.
The NDCA selected finalists based on the letters received and gave those recommendations to Gov. Jack Dalrymple, who made the final choices.
“Gracefully speaking, I’m extremely honored,” Barnes said.
When Barnes started at the Arts Center it was located on the upper level on the Ron Holm Drug, which once was Walz Pharmacy and now is White Drug.
Barnes and then-director Pam Braun solicited donations from banks and moved the Arts Center into its current location. That location, 115 Second St. NW, just underwent a renovation last summer.
Since she started at least five directors have come and gone at the Arts Center. Barnes took over in 1996 and has since made education a priority.
Numerous nomination letters listed Barnes and her work on Arts After School programs, and bringing programs to schools.
“Taylor is a tremendous asset and I value her leadership beyond words,” wrote Jamestown Public Schools Superintendent Bob Toso.
“She has worked with elementary teachers having her staff help them apply for grants through the North Dakota Council on the Arts, my class was one of the grant recipients and for three years my students learned from artists and experienced hands on instruction that installed an appreciation for a variety of forms of art,” wrote Mary Jo Stewart, a fifth-grade teacher at Roosevelt Elementary.
“I have observed Taylor’s involvement in a number of projects that demonstrate her continuing deep commitment to expanding arts opportunities to new audiences,” wrote Linda Ehreth, an education consultant from Bismarck. “For example, she frequently partners with Arts Midwest to bring international programs to the Jamestown community.”
Barnes isn’t originally from Jamestown, but Perrysburg, Ohio. When she came here she saw the need for more arts in the community.
“If Jamestown is going to retain residents or consider having a sense of vibrancy you need the arts,” she said.
The award will be given to Barnes on March 27 at the Radisson Hotel in Bismarck. She and this year’s other winners will be honored at that time. The general public is invited to attend, but reservations are required. Tickets are $35. To order tickets online, visit http://ndconference.com.
Barnes will retire next June from the Arts Center. She is confident in the organization’s future.
“I think when I retire this organization will be stronger than ever,” she said.
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org