The 2019 Mayor’s Awards for the Arts were presented at the Allied Arts Council’s annual meeting July 18, 2019. Mayor Bill McMurry awarded individuals and organizations in multiple categories for their dedications to the arts in the St. Joseph community.

Sarah Stockett was awarded Artist of the Year. She served on the Performing Arts Board of Directors from 2010 to 2016, through two terms. Three years ago, Stockett suffered a broken neck after an accident. After discovering there were not enough resources and outlets to give her information to help her, she decided to write her own. She published her book “Snapped” this year.

Chad Lippincott received Arts Educator of the Year for his dedication to the St. Joseph School District. He just completed his 17th year of teaching at Central High School. During his time, he has taught marching band, drumline, symphonic band, wind ensemble, percussion ensemble, jazz ensemble, jazz lab band, jazz combos, and also teaches private percussion lessons.

Youth Artist of the Year is Matthew Bobela. He began his music career at Bishop LeBlond High School, and now continues it at Missouri Western State University. He is studying Vocal Music Education and has made the President’s List for a 4.0 GPA twice. He is also part of the MWSU Chamber Singers and Concert Chorale.

The Dance Arts Center Performing Arts Company took home the Organizational Achievement in the Arts award. The Company started two years ago and has filled a need for young dancers in the community. Through DACPAC, students participate in not only dance, but creating an entire production, including costume design and stage production.

Drew Brown received the Individual Leadership award. Brown has become an active supporter of the arts since moving to St. Joseph in 1994. Recently, Brown committed to a $1 million gift to MWSU to support the addition of a visual arts annex at Potter Hall, the fine and performing arts building. Brown's gift will have a profound impact on the students and faculty at the university.

Dr. Bob and Dr. Laurel Vartabedian were presented the Extraordinary Lifetime Achievement Award. They have both been involved in the arts not only at MWSU, but in the St. Joseph community as well. From developing the college of Fine Arts, to being on boards of local arts organizations, to creating their own artistic endeavors, they have become a huge part of the arts community in St. Joseph.

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  David H. Morton

 Memorial Fund for the Arts

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The David H. Morton Memorial Fund for the Arts was established in 1986 to pay tribute to Mr. Morton’s leadership in the St. Joseph arts community.  Memorials are accepted at any time and are solicited to commemorate a special event, or just to promote the arts.

The Morton Fund is able to fund up to $2,000 for a cultural event with consideration given to new and innovative programs and/or projects.


Artist of the Year: Sarah Stockett

Arts Educator of the Year: Chad Lippincott

Youth Artist: Matthew Bobela

Organizational Achievement in the Arts: The Dance Arts Center Performing Arts Company

Individual Leadership:  Drew H. Brown

Extraordinary Lifetime Achievement in the Arts:  Drs. Robert A. and Laurel Klinger Vartabedian

Under Morton Fund, update awardees as follows:


South St. Joseph Development CorporationBuilding Mural at East elevation of 401 Illinois Avenue

Bluegrass Battles Hunger Music Festival - 10th Anniversary

Creative Arts Productions“Elf, Jr.”

Heartland Foundation“The Big Muddy Mini Maker Faire”

Performing Arts Association“Susan Werner Harmonica Workshop & Public Performance”

Saint Joseph Symphony“Monuments Men AND Women of Music”

St. Joseph MuseumsArKIDtecture Club