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IAAE honors Princeton couple, library

PRINCETON — Illinois Alliance For Arts Education (IAAE) Awards for 2014 have been awarded to a Princeton couple and to the Princeton Public Library.

At the March 20 awards ceremony held in the Governor’s Executive Mansion in Springfield, Keith and Julia Cain of Princeton were given an award for Outstanding Service to the Arts in the Business and Industry Division. The Princeton Public Library received its award in the division of Public and Community Service.

Serving as emcee for the 31st annual Service Recognition Awards ceremony was Terry Madsen of Princeton, IAAE vice president. The Cains were nominated for their award by Madsen. The Princeton Public Library was nominated for its award by Amber Harper of Walnut, who also serves on the IAAE Board, as director.

On Tuesday, Madsen said the award recipients were selected from nominations received from throughout the state. The nominations were submitted to a committee who selected the final recipients for the awards.

In his nomination of the Cains, Madsen said the Cains provide the model for businesses in small places in Illinois, and beyond, they are concerned about local access to the arts.

“Their commitment to providing their community with opportunities in the arts that are hard to find in much larger locations is complete. They have made it work,” Madsen said.

Continuing, Madsen said the Cains’ efforts have created opportunities for local youth to step onto stage with talent fresh from national tours and large venues under the direction of professional choreographers, music and theatre directors. The Cains have provided young artists with the opportunity to build their resumes and seasoned professionals with the chance to explore new materials and challenging paces, Madsen said.

“If small business owners are looking for a way to improve arts in their community on any scale, they should talk to Keith and Julia Cain. They have changed the city of Princeton,” Madsen said.

In her nomination of the Princeton Public Library, Harper said the library has a strong commitment to being a community center as well as being a focal point for information and inspiration for Princeton and the surrounding community.

“Princeton Public Library has made the fine arts, performing arts and applied arts a strong part of their programming and collection development,” Harper said. “The list of arts and humanities programs over the past year is extensive and most especially involve partnering with other community organizations and institutions.”

Some of the programs provided this past year by the library have been the Smithsonian/Museum on Main Street exhibition, Journey Stories in cooperation with the Illinois Humanities Council, and a community art show, four years running, with a different focus each year. This year, the Princeton Public Library received a National Endowment for the Humanities/American Library Association “Bridging Cultures” Bookshelf. The “Muslim Journeys” supporting programs involved not only a documentary on Islamic art, but also a performance of traditional Turkish music and a temporary installment of an Islamic garden with informational signage in the main area of the library, Harper said.

In regular programming, the library tries to feature frequent musical performances, not only because they are popular, but also because many patrons are on fixed incomes and do not have the opportunity to attend other local performances, Harper said. Programs are provided for both young and adult patrons offering hands-on creative experiences to emphasize that the arts are an active experience, not just passive, she added.

The two Princeton-based awards were among 15 awards presented during the March 20 event.

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