"Lady Jazz" Mae Wheeler: One of Seven St. Louis Arts Honorees Named Today

Categories: Arts, News
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Mae Wheeler, a.k.a. "Lady Jazz"
The Arts and Education Council is out with the twentieth edition of its St. Louis Arts Awards honorees. Among those heading up the 2011 class (to be recognized at a January ceremony) are Mae Wheeler, a local singer better known as "Lady Jazz"; Wayne Salomon, director of the John Burroughs theater department; and Karen Duffy, whose Duff's Restaurant has hosted literature readings for the past four decades.

The honorees named today "truly represent the breadth and depth of the arts community in St. Louis and the corporations, organizations and people that make it possible" says Cynthia A. Prost, president of the Arts and Education Council.

Check out the full list of honorees after the jump.

Wells Fargo Advisors -- Corporate Support of the Arts
Wells Fargo has emerged as one of our region's leading arts patrons, contributing millions of dollars to culturally enhance the St. Louis region. In 2009 and 2010, Wells Fargo sponsored the current seasons of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. In 2009 alone, Wells Fargo Advisors and its employees invested more than $5 million in over 90 St. Louis area non-profits including the Arts and Education Council, Grand Center, the United Way, and the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Christian B . Peper -- Excellence in Philanthropy
Christian Peper graduated from Harvard College in 1932 with a degree in the classics. Deciding to become a lawyer, he attended Washington University Law School. After graduation, he was appointed a Sterling Fellow at Yale Law School from which he received his LL.M in 1937. He has served as a law professor, a member of various corporate boards, and was a founding member of Martin Peper & Martin in 1941, now known as Husch Blackwell. Christian Peper has been a dedicated supporter of the Saint Louis Art Museum for more than four decades and in 1984 received the Museum's Beaux Arts Council Award for Distinguished Service. Christian has served as Museum council for more than 25 years. Over the years, he has loaned works of art to the Museum for temporary exhibitions, provided funds towards art acquisitions, and donated works of art to the Museum's permanent collection.

Paul Reuter -- Arts Innovator
As executive director of the Sheldon Concert Hall and Galleries, Paul Reuter has been instrumental in growing programming as well as the facility through renovations and new construction, including the art galleries. He also conceived the idea of the American Arts Experience - St. Louis more than five years ago as a way for St. Louis' arts organizations to collaborate annually under one theme to stimulate cultural tourism, and saw the project to fruition with its inaugural presentation this fall.

Repertory Theatre of St. Louis -- Excellence in the Arts
Since 1966, the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis has been the region's premier live, professional theater company and has enhanced the quality of cultural life for all who attend. Through accessible performances and educational outreach, The Rep embodies all that great regional theater should be -high-caliber, provocative and enriching - as it provides substantial and varied opportunities for learning about the human experience through theater arts.

Wayne Salomon -- Art Educator of the Year
Wayne Salomon has been chair of the Theatre Department at John Burroughs School for the past 23 years and teaches speech, debate and acting as well as honors English. Beyond the classroom, he directs a fall and spring play, a winter musical, and a winter dance concert. Through all these endeavors, Salomon has touched the life of every student at Burroughs, helping each to develop self-confidence, directness, verbal acuity and the power of self-expression; and a strong work ethic and keen sense of responsibility.

Mae Wheeler -- Lifetime Achievement in the Arts
Though she's come to be known as "Lady Jazz" during more than 50 years of entertaining St. Louis audiences, Mae Wheeler often refers to herself not as a jazz singer, but as a "song stylist" who offers interpretations of a wide variety of material, from jazz and blues to pop, rock, Broadway and more. She's also a philanthropist who has raised money for many charitable causes and started a scholarship fund to help local students.

Karen Duffy -- Champion for Literary Arts
For 35 years, Karen Duffy has been a driving force in promoting multicultural literature and arts in the St. Louis region through her consistent sponsorship of the River Styx at Duff's Reading Series. The series, held once a month at her restaurant, Duff's, in the Central West End, brings together local and internationally renowned poets, writers, musicians, and performance artists in celebration of the oral tradition of literature.

For sponsorships opportunities and ticket information for the January 24 awards ceremony, please contact the Arts and Education Council at 314.289.4003 or visit www.KeepArtHappening.org.

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