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On Monday, June 12, the City of Milwaukee Arts Board will honor this year’s recipients of the Artist of the Year and Friends of the Arts Awards. Theatre duo Chris and Jane Flieller and playwright/director Sheri Williams Pannell have been named 2017 Artists of the Year and Sande Robinson, Jan Serr and John Shannon have been named 2017 Friends of the Arts.

Attending the ceremony will be Mayor Tom Barrett, Alderman Michael J. Murphy and members of the arts community. Alderman Murphy, chair of the Arts Board, expressed his gratitude to the artists for their accomplishments and stellar contributions to the City of Milwaukee. “We are grateful to these individuals both for their unique achievements and for their service to the entire community through the arts,” he said.

The reception will be held at the Marcus Center for Performing Arts, 929 N. Water St., beginning at 4:30 p.m. followed by an awards program and celebration at 5:00 p.m. Members of 35 city-based arts organizations who received Arts Board grants will also be recognized. The public is welcome to attend the event.

Co-founders of the In Tandem Theatre in 1998, the Fliellers have made rounds not only in Milwaukee, but around the country touring with the Great American Children’s Theatre Company. They are acclaimed stage managers and directors and have even built their own Tenth Street Theatre.

In addition to working with many different Milwaukee and Wisconsin Theatres, Sheri Williams Pannell is an education lead teacher and dramaturg at First Stage. As a part of their Wisconsin Cycle Play Project she wrote Welcome to Bronzeville and is a founding member and artistic director of the Bronzeville Arts Ensemble.

Sande Robinson has dedicated herself to the arts through her contributions as a member of the Board of Trustees at the Milwaukee Art Museum and her efforts as president of the African American Art Alliance to bring more African American art to Milwaukee whether it is the Milwaukee Art Museum or Marquette’s Haggerty Museum of Arts.  Artist and photographer Jan Serr and businessman John Shannon have also contributed vastly to the art community through both their exhibits and philanthropic acts such as contributing to University Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Peck School of the Arts.

Established in 2012, the Friends of the Arts Award is given to individuals who, often behind the scenes, have distinguished themselves through exceptional service to Milwaukee’s arts community.  Past recipients include: Thallis Hoyt Drake, Andy Nunemaker, Steve Vande Zande, Lori Bauman, Konrad Kuchenbach and John Holland

The Milwaukee Arts Board has recognized Artists of the Year since 1995. Recent recipients include Dasha Kelly and Della Wells, Dale Gutzman and John Riepenhoff, Barbara Leigh and Evelyn Particia Terry, Reginald Baylor and Bill Theisen, Antler and Roy Stabb and Richard Taylor and Debra Loewen.

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