Each year since the early 1970s The City of Lawton and the Lawton Arts & Humanities Division has recognized the talents of local artists and the contributions of individuals and businesses to the community’s cultural landscape.

This recognition comes in the form of the Lawton Cultural Awards. The awards are given in six categories: citizen of the arts, citizen of the humanities, educator in the arts, educator in the humanities, business/organization in the arts/humanities, and artist of the year.

Nominations are submitted by the public, a panel of members from the Arts & Humanities Council then reviews the nominations and selects the winners. The winners are recognized at the Annual Arts For All Kick-off Fund Drive Luncheon.

“It’s a great way to spotlight our artists and individuals who put so much effort into the cultural scene for the area; it provides inspiration for the residents and it makes Lawton a stronger community,” said Michael Leal, the Arts Coordinator for the City of Lawton.

This year, The Roma Clift Montgomery Citizen of the Arts award will be presented to Addam Tate for spearheading the annual haunted house and family carnival at the Lawton Community Theatre. Linda Chapman will receive the Roma Clift Montgomery Citizen of the Humanities award for her volunteer work with the Lawton Philharmonic Orchestra.

The Educator in the Arts award will be presented to Mandee Thomas, an elementary gifted and talented teacher, for her work incorporating the arts into her classroom. Phyllis Young, a volunteer for the Southwest Oklahoma Genealogical Society and the Lawton Heritage Society, is the recipient of this year’s award for Educator in the Humanities.

KSWO TV 7 was selected as the Business in the Arts for its news coverage of the local arts.

Sandra Dunn, a Medicine Park artist and Lawton Eisenhower Middle School art teacher, has been named Artist of the Year.

“What I thought was fascinating is that sometimes I’m not aware of these artists and the awards spotlight their work and let me know about them,” Leal said.

In conjunction with the Lawton Cultural Awards, the Arts & Humanities Council also chooses the winner of the annual One to Six Art Purchase Award. The winner’s artwork is then given to the winners in each Cultural Award category.

This year’s One to Six winner is Lawton photographer Chris Martin. Six unique images of Martin’s will be framed and given to each of the Cultural Award recipients.

“Chris is more than just a photographer, he’s an artist with his work,” Leal said.

All of the winners will be recognized at this year’s Arts For All Kick-off Fund Drive Luncheon which is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Friday, Feb. 28, at the Hilton Garden Inn, 135 NW 2nd.

Reservations for the luncheon can be made by calling 355-3541.

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