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2015 ArtsPartners of the Year: Joe and Michele Richey

Joe and Michelle Richey

Peoria, IL – ArtsPartners of Central Illinois, Inc. presented Joe and Michele Richey with the 2015 ArtsPartners of the Year Award at their Annual Meeting on October 14 at The Waterhouse in downtown Peoria. The Richeys were honored with the award for their noteworthy contributions to the arts in central Illinois and beyond.


Joe and Michele founded the Prairie Center of the Arts in 2003. It began as a juried Artist in Residency (AIR) program to attract emerging and established artists from Illinois and around the world. The PCA, under Joe and Michele’s care and guidance has worked to provide artists with opportunities for research and development of new work and to provide an accessible facility for art and creativity that embraces the Peoria area community offering equipment and new technologies not currently available to the general public.


Working behind the scenes as advocates and supporters of the arts, Joe and Michele have supported and mentored countless artists of all disciplines through their residency program at the PCA, providing a network for emerging artists to enable them to place roots and develop careers in Central Illinois.


The Richeys have been involved with countless projects throughout the community to enhance the visibility of the arts. Most recently, Joe’s vision to see Sculpture transform the Warehouse District became a reality through the launch of Sculpture Walk Peoria on June 6th, 2015. Joe chaired the Sculpture Walk Committee, and he and Michele efforts and support played an integral role in bringing the walk to life.


Joe and Michele’s efforts have garnered praise from arts leaders around the state. Executive Director of Arts Alliance Illinois, Ra Joy, says of this year’s recipients, “As individuals and as a state, we are beneficiaries of Joe and Michele’s passion, energy, and deep commitment to culture and the arts. Their advocacy and strong civic leadership make our lives and our world more beautiful and help make the Peoria and its people flourish.”


Each year ArtsPartners names an ArtsPartner of the Year. This award recognizes exemplary support and service to the local arts which has ultimately resulted in a stronger and more vital cultural arts environment in the Peoria area.


The mission of ArtsPartners of Central Illinois is to increase the vitality of arts and culture in the area. ArtsPartners was founded in 1999 as a non-profit organization funded in part by the dedication of 2.5% of the collected restaurant tax, through a cooperative agreement between the City of Peoria and the Peoria Civic Center Authority. Operational funds are also received from the Illinois Arts Council, an agency of the State of Illinois. For a complete calendar of upcoming arts events, visit the ArtsPartners website at ap.ankordesign.com.

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