Hosted by the Springfield Regional Arts Council (SRAC), The Ozzie Awards are given each year to individuals, organizations, and businesses, which have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to the arts. In its 34th year, past winners have all exhibited an extended service in promoting the arts, a broad spectrum of involvement within the arts community, and have been a catalyst of growth of the arts in the Springfield area.
This year, the SRAC is excited to announce the following winners:
- Chyrel Miller, Education Award – With over 50 years in arts education, Chyrel Miller has taught thousands of people at both Missouri State University and Springfield Little Theatre. She has recently been inducted into MSU’s Hall of Fame and received SLT’s first Legacy Award.
- John “Chuck” Rogers, Individual Award – For over 30 years, Chuck has been the Technical Director for the Springfield Little Theatre, overseeing dozens of theatre productions each year. In addition to The SLT, he works with The Springfield Ballet, The Springfield Regional Opera, Drury University, and Tent Theatre, all while maintaining “The Crown Jewel of the Ozarks,” the Historic Landers Theatre.
- Nick Nelson and The Springfield Art Museum, Phoenix Award –With record-breaking attendance and a visionary plan for the future of the museum, The Springfield Art Museum and its current leadership will receive this award reserved for groups that have brought new life to an existing organization.
- Steve Snyder, Regional Impact Award –Steve Snyder has created an innovative photography exhibit, “Freedom Endeavor,” that allows Veterans to tell their stories through photography, video, and written word. Freedom Endeavor images have been used during a Kansas City Symphony’s televised performance “Celebration at The Station 2018,” on display at St. Peter’s Cultural Arts Center, and future cities include Joplin and Lee’s Summit. For over 10 years, Snyder also served as the Assistant Director for Mt. Vernon’s Regional Arts Council and in 2019 received Missouri Arts Council’s prestigious “Individual Artist” award.
- Yolanda Lorge, Leadership Award – President of Grupo Latinoamericano, Yolanda dedicates an immense amount of her time and resources raising awareness of and promoting Hispanic culture in and around Springfield – including creating hand-sewn authentic costumes used in cultural celebrations for the Grupo Latinoamericano Dance Troupe. Her leadership has created collaborative relationships with many city institutions such as The Springfield Police Department and The Springfield Art Museum.
- Andrea Ehrhardt, Featured Breakout Artist – Andrea, a prolific muralist and arts entrepreneur, will receive recognition for her work in the community, which includes the Springfield Mural on the side of The Discovery Center, the “butterfly murals” and more. She will also be creating art during The Ozzies, which will be raffled off that evening. This is a new award to recognize the emerging talent from the community.
“What an exciting group to celebrate,” says Leslie Forrester, SRAC Executive Director. “Our community is so fortunate to have these Ozzie Award Winners, and all they bring to enrich and strengthen where we live. It is truly inspiring, and we can’t wait to celebrate each one of them.”
Winners will be honored on Saturday, October 19, 2019, at the Ozzie Awards, presented by the Springfield-Branson National Airport. This celebrated arts gala includes gourmet food, music and live entertainment, plus interviews with the winners. “It’s one of the most anticipated events of the year,” Forrester says. “The evening has all the makings of an amazing night out: delicious food, outstanding performances, and conversation with the best and the brightest in the arts community."