Annette & Paul Smith to receive 2015 Sower Award

AnnetteAndPaulSmith copyHumanities Nebraska is pleased to announce that Annette and Paul Smith of Omaha will receive the 2015 Sower Award in the Humanities. They will be honored during the 20th Annual Governor’s Lecture in the Humanities on October 1 at the Holland Performing Arts Center in Omaha.

The Sower Award is presented annually to individuals or organizations who have made “a significant contribution to public understanding of the humanities in Nebraska.”

The Smiths were nominated by Ann Bird, special education consultant for Nebraska Department of Education, with hearty letters of support by multiple individuals.

Ardent supporters of the arts and humanities for decades, the Smiths helped sponsor the Great Plains Theatre Conference, one of the premiere events of its kind in the state. They are regulars at arts and humanities events in Omaha and elsewhere in the state.

“They have modeled empathy, concern and philanthropy, setting examples for others and inspiring others to become more empathetic, more concerned and givers themselves,” wrote Omaha artist Robert Benzel.

Paul Smith is vice-chairman of the Joslyn Art Museum’s board of governors, president of the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts board of directors, vice-chairman of the Film Streams board and a board member for the Omaha Conservatory of Music.

Annette is president-elect of Boys and Girls Club of the Midlands and past chair of the Women’s Leadership Council of United Way. She also serves on the boards of the Open Sky Policy Institute and the College of Saint Mary.

The couple also supports the Omaha Music Conservatory’s String Sprouts, the Nebraska Writers Collective’s “Louder Than a Bomb” slam poetry project,
Omaha-area performing arts, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Midlands board of directors and many other organizations.

“The Nebraska Writers Collective really owes so much of what we’re able to do to their guidance as they’ve been instrumental in making our Louder Than A Bomb possible,” said Executive Director Matt Mason. “I’m thrilled they’re being honored with this award.”

“They have contributed their talents through extensive volunteerism, and their personal resources by financially supporting multiple organizations, performing groups and galleries,” Bird said.

Community volunteer Jessica Pate lauded the couple’s ready support of innovation in art and culture in the state.

“Paul and Annette’s willing-ness to invest again and again in the new, the untried, have enviably enriched our cultural landscape,” she stated.

Nominators and review committee members alike agreed that Annette and Paul Smith represent the best in philanthropic leadership.

“They are sowers of our citizenry, an informed and engaged citizenry, one with a voice leading to a greater sense of self, purpose and ownership,” said Pate.

The Smiths will receive the Sower Award immediately prior to the free public lecture by historian David Reynolds.

Table sponsorships and individual tickets to the reception and dinner that will precede the free lecture are still available. Please call 402.474.2131 to make your reservations.


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