Lawrence Arts Commission celebrates with 2013 Phoenix Award winners

A month and a half after announcing this year’s Phoenix Awards winners, the Lawrence Arts Commission celebrated the achievements of its five medalists Sunday.

More than 100 community members packed into a theater at the Lawrence Arts Center to see the winners receive their personalized awards and deliver thank-you speeches.

The class of 2013 and their specific awards: Cathy Ledeker, a retired art director for Van Go Inc., for Educator in the Arts; Ben Ahlvers, a sculptor and director of exhibition at the Lawrence Arts Center, for Visual Arts; John Jervis, a classical guitarist, for Musical Arts; Laura Ramberg, a sculptor and art teacher at the Douglas County Juvenile Center, for Exceptional Artistic Achievement; and Theatre Lawrence, a community theater, for the first Creative Spaces award. Fred DeVictor, president of the board, accepted on behalf of Theatre Lawrence.

The souvenirs of each award were crafted by Alicia Kelly, a 2010 Kansas University graduate and artist specializing in paper and printmaking. The awards involved a small box made of oak. Inside were hand-cut designs of Japanese paper and hand-dyed papers from Malaysia. She described her awards as “terrariums.”

Ramberg dedicated the award to her mentors, including her late mother.

“She demonstrated a wonderful, creative, long life,” Ramberg said.

Jervis lauded Lawrence for its artistry despite being outside of the mainstream.

“Lawrence is the real deal; we don’t show off,” he said. “When it doesn’t go [mainstream], you’re doing [art] for itself, you’re doing art for the communication, for the benefit.”