Grand Rapids State Bank proudly announces they were chosen as the recipient of the first annual Mayor’s Arts Award. The Grand Rapids Arts and Culture Commission recently called for nominations for the first Mayor’s Arts Award to be presented to a business or organization that has made a significant impact on the arts in the Grand Rapids area through support of local arts, organizations, programs and individual artists. Examples of significant impact included advocacy, community outreach, workplace based gallery exhibitions, volunteerism and other activities that promote the value of arts and culture in the community.
“We are honored and humbled to be recognized with the first annual Mayor’s Arts Award. A passion for the arts has spanned four generations of the Wilcox family and we have a deep belief in the importance of the arts culturally in our community,” stated Noah Wilcox, president and CEO of Grand Rapids State Bank. “We are deeply grateful for the nomination and the many letters supporting the nomination that was made.” Grand Rapids State Bank has been making contributions to the arts community for over 100 years.
Local musician Sam Miltich commented, “GRSB has been one of the largest and most consistent supporters of the arts in the Grand Rapids region. Their financial support has helped make possible countless arts events in the community, many of which I have been a part of. GRSB and the Wilcox family are truly committed to our community and help ensure high quality art is accessible to the people of Northern Minnesota, which contributes to a very high quality of life for those in our community.”
“As director of Peasants with Torches, a celebration of arts and culture, GRSB has been the sole sponsor bringing the arts to a large segment of the community. Their generous dedication to arts and artists is a community model of cultural responsibility. GRSB recognizes investment in the arts make for a healthier community,” stated Tom Page, Visual Artist and Peasants with Torches Director.
John Connelly, local photographer, stated, “from my perspective as a photographer, patron of the local arts scene and member of the Grand Rapids Arts and Culture Commission, I’ve personally witnessed how GRSB continually works to increase the impact of the arts in our community. The bank has a long history of financial support for arts-related capital projects, has underwritten and sponsored many arts and culture events over the years and continually hires local artist to assist the bank with special projects, events and marketing efforts. GRSB is truly a model of the ways in which local businesses can not only have a significant impact on the arts, but can play an immeasurable role in community development as a whole.”
Some projects and events throughout the years include: Founder of Forest Jam (outdoor concert) to celebrate Minnesota musicians, sponsor of Grand Rapids Players theater performances, regular supporter of MacRostie Art Center exhibits, major underwriter of numerous performances annually at the Reif Center, commissioned a major bronze sculpture for their business entrance, created numerous displays of local art and photography within their business – including a permanent Centennial photo gallery, lead donor and collaborator for a recent retrospective of the work of Gendron Jensen, lead private donors in the recent Reif Center renovation, regular engagement of local musicians for customer appreciation day and staff events and established a fund at the Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation to support the arts at St. Joseph’s School.