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2015 Sower Award to honor Omaha couple

Humanities Nebraska announced that Annette and Paul Smith of Omaha will receive the 2015 Sower Award in the Humanities. Ardent supporters of arts, humanities and other non-profit organizations in the state, the couple will be honored immediately prior to the 20th Annual Governor’s Lecture in the Humanities on Thursday, October 1, at the Holland Performing Arts Center.

The Sower Award is presented annually to “an individual, institution, business, or community that has made a significant contribution to public understanding of thehumanities in Nebraska.”

The Smiths were nominated by Ann Bird of Omaha with letters of support from multiple individuals who recognized the Smiths’ multi-faceted efforts in making the arts and humanities accessible to everyone.

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

Frequent participants in arts and humanities events in Omaha and elsewhere in Nebraska, the Smiths helped sponsor the Great Plains Theatre Conference, one of the premiere events of its kind in the state. The couple supports the Omaha Conservatory of Music’s String Sprouts program, the Nebraska Writers Collective’s “Louder Than a Bomb” youth poetry festival, various Omaha-area performing arts organizations, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Midlands and many other non-profit ventures.

“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 Louder Than A Bomb possible,” said Executive Director Matt Mason. “I’m thrilled they’re being honored with this award.”

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 Smith 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.

In her letter of support, community volunteer Jessica Pate lauded the couple’s ready support of innovation in art and culture in the state. “Paul and Annette’s willingness to invest again and again in the new, the untried, have enviably enriched our cultural landscape,” she stated. “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.”

The 2015 Governor’s Lecture in the Humanities is presented by Humanities Nebraska, presenting sponsors First National Bank and the University of Nebraska, and co-chairs Nick Baxter and Kathy Wilson. Historian, author and British television host">David Reynolds will deliver the free public lecture, which is titled, “World War One: Remembering America’s Forgotten War.”

The 7:30 p.m. lecture is free and open to the public. Table sponsorships and tickets for the pre-lecture benefit reception and dinner are now available for purchase. Purchase dinner tickets here.

Humanities Nebraska programming is made possible by:

and generous individuals, foundations, and businesses across Nebraska.