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Louis Jenkins to receive George Morrison Artist Award

Poet Louis Jenkins was named to receive the George Morrison Artist Award by the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council (ARAC) last week. He and the winner of ARAC's Maddie Simons Advocate award, Michael Ricci, artistic and managing director of Theatre a...

Poet Louis Jenkins was named to receive the George Morrison Artist Award by the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council (ARAC) last week.
He and the winner of ARAC's Maddie Simons Advocate award, Michael Ricci, artistic and managing director of Theatre at Hibbing Community College, will receive their awards at a ceremony at the college on Saturday, May 5.
"I'm happy, I'm speechless, I'm very happy to get it," Jenkins said in a telephone interview this week. "The George Morrison award is for long-term commitment to the arts, which, of course, means you're old and, you know, you have mixed feelings about that -- but it's nice. I'm honored."
The Arrowhead Arts Awards were created to recognize individuals who have made important contributions to the arts in the Arrowhead Region, said Robert DeArmond, executive director of ARAC.
"The Council believes the arts play an essential role in all of our lives, and that it is important for us to recognize the artists in our communities as well as those individuals who are responsible for making the arts happen," he said in a recent release.
Jenkins, a native of Oklahoma, moved to Duluth 30 years ago. "It's been good to me, being here, being a poet in Duluth," Jenkins said.
Jenkin's prose poems have been published in a wide variety of literary magazines including the American Poetry Review, the Boston Review, Paris Review, Poetry East and many others. His work has also been included in a number of anthologies as well.
His books of poetry include "An Almost Human Gesture," "All Tangled Up With Living," and "Nice Fish: New and Selected Prose Poems," which won the 1995 Minnesota Book Award for poetry. "Just Above the Water", published by Holy Cow! Press, was the winner of the Northeast Minnesota Book Award, as was "Fish," and "The Winter Road (Holy Cow! Press) was a finalist for the 2000 Minnesota Book Award.
Jenkins has read his poetry on Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion, and a CD of Jenkins reading his poems, "Any Way in the World," was released by Thousands Press last year. Two of his prose poems were published in "The Best American Poetry of 1999."
Jenkins has also maintained an active involvement in the literary community in the Arrowhead region, DeArmond said. He edited and published one of the first literary magazines in the region, "Steelhead," and continues to read his poetry. He has worked as a poet and guest editor with Poetry Harbor, served as a panel member for the Minnesota State Arts Board, helped start the Lake Superior Contemporary Writers Series and is on the board of the Spirit Lake Poetry Series.
The George Morrison Award is named after internationally recognized visual artist George Morrison, a member of the Grand Portage Chippewa,
The award, which includes a check for $3,000, is almost serendipitous, Jenkins said. The computer he was using to write his poetry broke down recently, and he'll use the funds to buy a new one.
"It's timely," he said.
Ricci is a native of New York. He moved to Hibbing in 1997 and, as artistic and managing director of Theatre at Hibbing Community College, has staged main stage productions as well as produced a wide range of productions with guests artists and companies including the Continental Ballet Company, the Minnesota Dance Theatre and the Guthrie Theater. He also developed an extended community outreach program and initiated a school matinee program which gives students in schools in northern Minnesota the opportunity to see matinee performances of Hibbing Community College plays.
The awards ceremony will be held at 8:15 p.m. at the college theater during the intermission of the Hibbing community College production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat." A reception will follow. At the ceremony ARAC will also honor artists and arts organization in the Hibbing and St. Louis county that have received grants from the council during the past year.
For more information, call 722-0952.

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