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November 15, 2012 / ivytechartspartner

Indiana Coalition for the Arts Foundation Hosts 2012 Community Arts Leadership Awards on November 1st

Winners of the 2012 Community Arts Leadership Awards! From left to right, Alane Meis, Deborah Asante, Pam Hicks, Gloria Tuohy

On November 1, 2012, the Indiana Coalition for the Arts Foundation, Inc. (INCAF) honored the winners of the 2012 Community Arts Leadership Awards for their part in advancing the cause of community and local arts in Indiana. INCAF celebrated these four outstanding Hoosiers at a ceremony held at the Indianapolis Arts Garden. This year’s selection process for the Community Arts Leadership Awards was highly competitive, with nearly 50 nominations received.


Arts Advocate              Alane Meis, Terre Haute
Arts Educator               Deborah Asante, Indianapolis
Volunteer                      Pam Hicks, Greenwood
Arts Professional         Gloria Tuohy, Crown Point

Remarks at the event were provided by Don Steffy, Executive Director, Indianapolis Children’s Choir. Steffy encouraged attendees to take action by becoming active arts citizens within the civic life of their own communities and by using their imaginations to create ideas around “new” funding sources. Not to replace what exists, but rather as an added compliment to existing funding sources, in an effort to expand and grow the arts funding scene. Don also offered that if we want to understand “what are these Hoosier values” currently being touted around many political ads and how they might apply to the arts, then go no further than our Indiana Statehouse, where discovering the answer is as simple as taking a self guided tour with pamphlet in hand and positioning oneself in the rotunda; and looking up.  Don said – “There are eight separate and equally displayed marble statues that represent the values identified by our Hoosier forefathers, as attributes of a civil society. And Art, stands singularly represented with Agriculture, Commerce, History, Justice, Law, Liberty, and Oratory. A simple, logical, and Hoosier common sense path to a civil society. Is it really that simple?  And the answer is, yes!”

CALA honorees received an award created by Indiana ceramic artist Gail Johnston. Award recipients and their respective nominators were a part of the over 50 guests at the event.

Sponsors:  Arts Council of Indianapolis and Joyce L. Ribble

To find out more about the Community Arts Leadership Awards, please visit the INCAF website at:

For biographies of the winners, please see below.

The mission of the Indiana Coalition for the Arts Foundation (INCAF) is to serve arts professionals throughout the state who keep our arts organizations artistically and economically vital through education and communication

Arts Advocate: Alane Meis, Terre Haute   
Alane Meis has progressively driven the arts community in the Wabash Valley for decades. Consistently a member of many arts related boards including the Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra and the Swope Art Museum, Meis also served as the chair of the Indiana Arts Commission. Thirty-two years ago, she was a founding board member of Arts Illiana. Meis has been honored often in the past for her volunteerism and community service, including receiving the Sagamore of the Wabash twice.

“Deeply understanding of all ends of advocacy, from the nuances of legislation to the public/private pact of civic engagement, Meis has consistently exacted her influence, connections and foresight to help progress the role and scope of the arts.” – CALA Nomination

Arts Educator: Deborah Asante, Indianapolis, Asante Children’s Theatre
Deborah Asante has dedicated her life to teaching and sharing the value of culture and heritage through the performing arts, and developing and educating young minds through the arts. Asante is an actress, writer, director, Young Audiences of Indiana Teaching Artist and award-winning storyteller.

In 1990, she founded the Asante Children’s Theatre (ACT) and continues to serve as the artistic director. ACT primarily serves youth who are considered at-risk or underserved by arts programming by cultivating an appreciation for African and African American performance art. Annually, Asante writes and directs three main stage productions and through ACT donates blocks of tickets to youth organizations and schools. Through ACT, thousands of youth have directly benefitted from her teachings either as participants or audience members. ACT success stories include Emmy nominated choreographer and Broadway cast member Jeffery Page.

Volunteer: Pam Hicks, Greenwood
Pam Hicks, native of Hammond, has been referred to as a ‘volunteer extraordinaire,’  one who has given her expertise, unlimited time, treasure and talent to a multitude of organizations for 55 years on the national, state and local levels, with a major emphasis on the arts. As fellow volunteer stated: “Pam doesn’t hesitate to take on a leadership role, but she is also in the trenches doing the legwork.”

An Indiana State Arts Commissioner, she has served on the Indiana Symphony Society Board and is immediate past president of the ISO Association’s executive board and the Alliance of the Indianapolis Museum of Art Board of Directors, Hoosier Salon Patrons Association. She was a founding member of the Greater Greenwood Arts Council and the Johnson County Community Foundation. A Franklin College graduate, she is past president of its alumni council and association and recipient of its distinguished alumni award.  She serves on Franklin’s board and for 29 years was curator of its art collection.
Arts Professional: Gloria Tuohy, Crown Point, Indiana Ballet Theatre Northwest

Gloria R. Tuohy is Artistic Director/CEO of Indiana Ballet Theatre, which she founded 33 years ago. A native of England whose father was a Grenadier Guard at Buckingham Palace, she has spent her life working with the performing arts, children and making people happy. Since falling in love with an American in 1973, she ‘has been busy building dreams and making amazing things come to life in the arts.’ Her career of professional dance, teaching and artistic direction spans over 50 years.

Some IBT students have gotten jobs in the entertainment world and many have been accepted into programs at Joffrey, Interlochen, Butler University, Canada’s Royal Ballet Company and Virginia School of Arts. Her complete vision is to have a professional ballet company in Northwest Indiana located in a historic 20,000-square-foot building she convinced the county to give as the IBT’s permanent home and a community arts incubator.

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