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ArtsPartners Announces 2023 ArtsPartners of the Year


Peoria, Ill. – ArtsPartners of Central Illinois, Inc. announced Kristan McKinsey as the 2023 recipient of the ArtsPartner of the Year Award at their Annual Meeting on Wednesday, November 15. The ArtsPartner of the Year Award recognizes exemplary support of and service to the arts in central Illinois. Past ArtsPartner of the Year recipients include: Joe & Michelle Richey, Preston Jackson, Joan & Bob Ericksen, George & Norma Kottemann, John & Sharon Amdall, John & Jeff Heintzman, Sharon Samuels Reed, Sid & Flo Banwart, and others. Announcing this year’s award was ArtsPartners’ outgoing past president, Mary Jo Papich, and board president, Frannie Heine.

Kristan McKinsey knows art and loves it with all her heart. She makes the tri-county area a more beautiful place to live by sharing her passion and expertise. As a citizen of the world (she grew up in India, and travels and studies widely) she embraces the diversity, meaning, and beauty of art from all its creators and shares it with others. She leads and creates, tries new things, and helps people succeed.

Under McKinsey’s leadership, the Fine Arts Society of Peoria delivered programs via Zoom and posted recordings to over 2,000 people during COVID. She worked 32 years as curator and art historian and produced over 150 exhibits (including several that won Illinois Association of Museums awards) and more than 30 museum articles. She served as the Director of Collections and Exhibitions at Lakeview Museum (1996-2012) and was the founding curator at Peoria Riverfront Museum (2012-2016). As Director of the Illinois Women Artists Project at Bradley University, she organized and led every Midwest Women Artists Symposium from 2011 to present. McKinsey also hosted two major exhibitions of Illinois Women Artists’ work prior to becoming project director.

One of her nominators, Ann Kenney Lynch, President of the Fine Arts Society of Peoria, noted: “She is my colleague and more than that, a friend. She has been an excellent advisor for me as her successor as Fine Arts Society President. Let me assure you, she is a tough act to follow. Working together with the rest of our Board we have made our organization stronger with an even greater sense of our mission to ‘explore, expand, and enliven the arts’ here in Central Illinois.”

ArtsPartners of Central Illinois promotes the arts as a vital component of central Illinois’ cultural and economic development. Founded in 1999, ArtsPartners of Central Illinois, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, not-for-profit organization whose mission is to build awareness and strengthen the arts for the economic and cultural enrichment of central Illinois.

CONTACT: Dr. Mae Gilliland Wright, Executive Director, ArtsPartners | 309-258-1327 | [email protected]

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