Each year, the Springfield Regional Arts Council presents awards to those who have embodied the pioneering creative spirit of the region's arts community at the most celebrated collaborative arts gala of the year, The Ozzie Awards.
This year we are so excited to celebrate the following winners:
Chyrel Miller, Education Award
Chyrel Miller, lovingly called “Mama Miller” by her dance students, has been an educational force for 50 years. She taught Missouri State University from 1972 to 2000, receiving a spot on the Wall of Fame in 2018. During her time at MSU, she helped develop two new bachelor of fine arts programs, as well as instill a love and appreciation for the arts. Her work didn’t stop there, however. Chyrel has worked with the Springfield Ballet, Springfield Regional Opera, and Springfield Little Theatre, where she was the first Legacy Award Winner. Chyrel is known for helping students excel in their chosen profession, whether taking them to New York City to meet agents and show them the ropes. In addition to dance, Chyrel taught pilates through her own studio. “Her reach is far and wide,” says Beth Doman, SLT Executive Director.
John “Chuck” Rogers, Individual Award
For over 32 years, John “Chuck” Rogers has shown outstanding service to The Springfield Little Theatre and beyond. As the SLT’s Techincal Theatre Director, Chuck oversees the technical direction of seven mainstage productions, two Summer Institute productions, multiple offsite and special productions annually, as well as coordinating the design elements and technical direction for the Springfield Ballet’s “The Nutcracker.”
And though his first love is the SLT, Chuck has helped multiple productions succeed. He has worked with Drury University, Tent Theatre, and the Springfield Regional Opera, as well as designed for television and Branson venues. His involvement stretches beyond just technical theatre, but as also acted and directed at The SLT. He is the “glue of the SLT,” says Zoe Zelonky, SLT Youth Program Director. She says you can rely on his perfect design, patience, inventiveness, and energy. “Nothing like a Chuck jazzercise warm up!”
Yolanda Lorge, Leadership Award
As president of Grupo Latinoamericano, Yolanda Lorge has dedicated an immense amount of time and many of her own personal resources into raising awareness of and promoting Hispanic culture in and around Springfield and Greene County. Through collaborations with the Springfield Police Department, Cinco De Mayo celebrations at the Springfield Art Museum, and with the Springfield Public Schools, Yolanda has brought a passionate voice to the community.
One way Yolanda has injected Hispanic culture into the area is through the Grupo Latinoamericano Dance Troup. With colorful, hand-sewn authentic costumes representative of many Hispanic and Latino countries, these dancers reflect a vibrant dedication to the promotion of Hispanic and Latino art.
In 2018, Yolanda, on behalf of Grupo Latinoamericano, received the largest of six grants given through the Community Foundation of the Ozark’s inaugural Springfield-Greene County Diversity and Inclusion program.
Nick Nelson and the Springfield Art Museum, Phoenix Award
Under Nick Nelson’s leadership as Executive Director, the Springfield Art Museum has undergone a transformation worthy of The Phoenix Award. Nick joined the museum in 2012 and has worked to obtain accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums, making SAM the only accredited museum in southern Missouri. The staff at the museum has continued to bring in exceptional exhibits, including the Nick Cave Soundsuits, and acquired 90 new pieces in its 90th year. For three years straight, the museum has had one record-breaking year of attendance after another. And last October, the museum announced its 30-year Master Plan, which focuses on a renewed purpose for the museum’s grounds and greenspace, plus creating and revamping educational and community spaces.
Nick says the vision and courage established by the museum’s founders “inspire us today as we consider the long-term future of this wonderful institution and present a plan for the next 30 years that is no less visionary.”
Steve Snyder, Regional Impact Award
Photographer Steve Snyder tells the stories of others through his art. Through his innovative photography exhibit, “Freedom Endeavor,” Steve allows Veterans to have a voice not only through photography but through video and written word. “His photography draws attention to Missouri Veterans who should not be forgotten,” says Karen Millsap of the Mount Vernon Regional Arts Council.
Born and raised in Southwest Missouri, Steve is dedicated to the arts and its growth across the state. He has helped bring many diverse art programs to rural Missouri through his position as the Assistant Director at the Mt. Vernon Regional Arts Council, as well as through the Veterans Way Committee and MACAA. While creating “Freedom Endeavor,” Steve volunteered hundreds of hours with Veterans.
“He represents our region and our state well, documenting our culture, our history, and our people,” says Karen. “His art provides us with beauty and timeless honor, leaving us with new awareness of our lives in Missouri.”
Andrea Ehrhardt, Featured Breakout Artist Award
Andrea Ehrhardt has made a name for herself in Springfield and beyond. Through her public art murals and hashtag #417StreetArt, she has amassed thousands of fans. Her murals include the Springfield name on the side of the Discovery Center, Butterfly walls at Dickerson Park Zoo and on Walnut Street, as well as new work at Quarry Town.
Having worked full time as an artist for only five years, she has seen a lot of success. Combining her passion for art and an entrepreneurial spirit, Andrea has started an online Artist Academy, where she helps mentor other emerging artists through step-by-step courses and motivation.
Celebrate these winners on Saturday, October 19th at The Ozzies. Tickets are almost sold out, so call the office at 417-862-2787 for availability.
Do you know someone who has shown an extended service in the promotion of the arts in the region? If so, consider nominating them for the 2020 Ozzie Awards!