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Springfield Regional Arts Council prepares for the Ozzie Awards

Springfield Regional Arts Council
Promotional graphic for the event.

Their second-largest fundraiser of the year is set for next week

The 38th annual Springfield Ozzie awards recognizes people who've worked to grow the area arts community in a variety of categories. The event is a chance to shine a spotlight on those who don't normally get it, according to Springfield Regional Arts Council Program Director Sarah Abele.

"They're the ones who are going into our schools and giving conversations about what a creative career could look like. They're the ones that are handling literally all the trash at Artsfest," she said.

Four standard awards will be given out: Volunteer of the Year, Arts Champion (a "corporation or organization who's made meaningful contributions to advance arts in the overall Ozarks"), Arts Ambassador (an "individual or team that has taken on an active role in building a sustainable and thriving ecosystem for the arts in the Ozarks") and Excellence in Arts Education. There will also be a Lifetime Achievement Awarded presented to arts administrator and education Randy Russell.

The nomination process for awards is different this year. Nominations are taken from the public (the window for these has closed, by the way), then application forms are sent to the nominees to fill out. Those forms are sent to a panel of judges, who Abele describes as "people like ourselves, but in different communities" — people heading up arts groups or SRAC-type organizations. Those judges narrow the applications down to a few finalists and then choose the winners. In previous years, community members filled out applications for the nominees; Abele said the change will make the process more inclusive and give it "a greater breadth of nominees."

The art featured in the Springfield Airport's "Artport" display — all of which falls under the party's space disco theme, "Fly Me to the Moon" — will be arranged in the reception. In addition to cocktails, wine and a dinner, the gala will feature numerous performances.

"We have musical performances form the amazing Johnnie King — she's a local Jazz performer, rounding out the cocktail hour. We have The Paper moons, we have Springfield Little Theatre, we have Springfield Contemporary Theatre, we've got some surprises that I can't really talk about," said Abele.

The Ozzie awards will take place October 14 at the Springfield Airport. Individual Tickets are $100. For more information, visit the Springfield Regional Arts Council website.