Arts and Humanities
4:08 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

Courier-Journal Music Writer Wins Governor's Award

The Kentucky Arts Council has announced the recipients of this year’s Governor’s Awards in the Arts. Long-time Courier-Journal music writer Jeffrey Lee Puckett is among the honorees.

The Governor’s Awards are the commonwealth’s highest honor in the arts. The annual awards recognize individuals and businesses who have made a significant impact on the Kentucky arts landscape. They’re awarded in nine categories, including media. 

The Governor’s Awards are nominated by citizens, and after 25 years as a professional music writer, Puckett’s voice is among the most trusted in the state – he’s both an expert and a fan.

“The more I learn about music the more interesting new music becomes, because the context gets clearer," says Puckett. " So I get excited when a band like Passion Pit puts out a new record, and I can say wait a minute, that has elements of the Jackson 5, or elements of Bananarama, or this and that. It stays fun.”

This is Puckett’s first journalism award since college – he’s a modest guy, and doesn’t enter his own work in competitions, so the good news caught him by surprise.  

“It just sort of settled into my chest, like, this is amazing, to be doing this for this long. And even though it’s probably an award of attrition, like he’s still here, let’s give him a plaque, it still was such a humbling and flattering and fulfilling experience,” he says. 

The awards will be presented in October at the Capitol. Nominations for the awards are accepted by the Kentucky Arts Council in the spring. 

2012 Governor's Awards in the Arts

National Award – Bobbie Ann Mason, Lawrenceburg: Kentuckyauthor Bobbie Ann Mason has given voice to the personal stories, lives and issues facing generations of Kentuckians for nearly four decades through her published works of fiction and non-fiction. Ms. Mason established herself as a bright and bold voice of the American literary scene with the publication of her first short story collection in 1982, “Shiloh and Other Stories.”

Artist Award – Gray Zeitz, Owenton: Zeitz is the founder of Larkspur Press, producing dozens of fine, letterpress editions, mostly of Kentucky poets, for nearly 40 years. The business is regarded by many as being among the finest small press printers and designers of books in Kentucky, the region and across the country.

Business Award – UK HealthCare Arts in HealthCare Program, Lexington: The program includes art in all forms – from the whimsy of folk art, to the textural richness of glass, wood and ceramics, to the soul-moving sounds of a musician or vocalist, to the stillness of a dancer in repose. Aside from internationally commissioned pieces in key public locations, the core collection features artists with a Kentucky connection, many who have achieved national and international reputations.

Community Arts Award – Latitude Artist Community, Lexington: Latitude Artist Community serves all people with an emphasis on people with a disability. Since 2001, Latitude has designed innovative supports which encourage artists with a disability to succeed and contribute to their community. By design, Latitude develops some of the most innovative, elegant and daring social and creative supports of any program of its type in the country.

Education Award – Christina Hartke Towell, Morehead: Towell is the teacher, director and founder of the Lucille Caudill Little String Program for Rowan County Schools. The program instills awareness and appreciation of music performance for the next generation of string performers. Since its beginning in 2006, the program has grown to provide instruction and participation to 136 students, including students with hearing and physical disabilities.

Folk Heritage Award – Leona Waddell, Cecilia: A former master in the Kentucky Folklife Program’s Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program, Waddell has dedicated her life to conserving and perfecting the south central Kentucky white oak basket making tradition, which has important economic and social history, and is a source of pride in the region.

Government Award – U. S. Rep. John Yarmuth, Louisville: Congressman Yarmuth has set himself apart from other governmental arts supporters by donating his entire congressional salary to numerous nonprofit and charitable organizations, many with an arts focus, like the Governor’s School for the Arts, Louisville’s Fund for the Arts and the Kentucky School of Art.

The Media Award – Jeffrey Lee Puckett, Louisville: Writing about music since he was 16, Puckett keeps Louisvillians informed and up-to-date on the area’s music scene and provides perspective on the national music scene to readers of the paper and his blog, Tune in Louisville. His knowledge of music and his exceptional writing ability have made him an invaluable asset to his community.