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ASU Gammage director earns Governor's Award for leadership in the arts

April 05, 2012

Nearly 500 arts supporters, advocates, business leaders and elected officials attended the 31st Annual Governor's Arts Awards at the Herberger Theater Center, March 27, hosted by the Arizona Citizens for the Arts, Arizona Commission on the Arts, and the Office of the Governor.

Colleen Jennings-Roggensack, the executive director of ASU Gammage, received the Governor's Arts Award in the Individual category and shared the honor with Robert Breunig, director of the Museum of Northern Arizona.

More than 80 individuals, artists, businesses, arts education programs and community programs, from more than 24 Arizona cities, were nominated for this year’s awards. 

The Governor’s Arts Awards is a chance to recognize the innumerable benefits the arts offer Arizona residents, including cultural and economic impact, as well as honor those organizations and individuals helping to advance the arts in Arizona.

Jennings-Roggensack, who will celebrate 20 years as executive director for ASU Gammage this July, carries the artistic, fiscal and administrative responsibility for Gammage and ASU Kerr Cultural Center, with additional responsibility for non-athletic activities at Sun Devil Stadium and Wells Fargo Arena. 

During the past 20 years, Jennings-Roggensack has distinguished herself as one of the most influential leaders in the arts locally, nationally and internationally. Her major accomplishments include:

• turning ASU Gammage into one of the top touring markets in the United States

• helping generate more than $265 million in economic impact for the Valley, since the economic downturn in 2006, through the highly successful PROGRESSIVE® Broadway Across America – Arizona series

 • establishing "Connecting Communities" – allowing Gammage to go beyond its doors to change lives for the better and make a difference in the community through the shared experience of the arts

• commissioning 22 works of art to premiere at ASU Gammage, which is more than any other presenter in the Southwest

• becoming Arizona's only Tony Awards® voter, since 1995, which is among the most distinguished achievements in the industry

Honorees received specially created awards reflecting Arizona’s beauty and diversity by Arizona artists Joe Ray of Scottsdale, Fausto Fernandez of Phoenix, George Gaines-Averbeck of Flagstaff, Gennaro Garcia of Ahwatukee, Judith Walsh of Oracle, Catherine Nash of Tucson, Emily Costello of Superior and Julius Forzano of Scottsdale. 

Other awards presented were:

Artist of the Year – Ed Mell, who recently designed the Arizona Centennial Postage Stamp 

Arts in Education (Individual Award) – Beth Lessard, Tempe, former chair of ASU's Department of Dance 

Arts in Education (Organization Award) – Arizona School for the Arts 

Community Award – Arizona Cowboy Poet Gathering, Prescott 

Business Award – JP Morgan Chase 

2012 Shelley Award – Arts advocate and leader Darryl Dobras of Tucson