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IAC announces 2016 Skip McKinney Faculty of the Year

Kimberly Conrad has been named the Skip McKinney Faculty of the Year Fellow

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Rob MacPherson, Lisa McKinney, Kimberly Conrad, Picture of Arlene “Skip” McKinney, Marni McKinney, Kevin McKinney, Robert McKinney and Marta Blades. - SUBMITTED
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  • Rob MacPherson, Lisa McKinney, Kimberly Conrad, Picture of Arlene “Skip” McKinney, Marni McKinney, Kevin McKinney, Robert McKinney and Marta Blades.

The Robert H. McKinney family and the Indianapolis Art Center have announced the fifth Skip McKinney Faculty of the Year Fellow, Kimberly Conrad.

Conrad is a jewelry and metalsmith teacher at the Art Center, where she has worked for the last 16 years.

“It has been a big change from being a teacher only to doing a lot of different things at the Art Center,” says Conrad. “It has just been fabulous.”

The $20,000 fellowship is “given to an Art Center faculty member who exhibits excellence in his/her art, excellence in teaching and focuses on building community through art,” according to the Art Center. 

Conrad was one of roughly 20 who applied. In addition to the financial scholarship, Conrad will be given a solo show in August of next year — allowing her to focus on her own body of work for the next few months. But Conrad has another big project on her mind as well. 

“Being awarded this honor by the McKinneys, it’s not only an acknowledgement of the work that I do, but also, all of the possibilities that this opens up for me.”

One of those possibilities came to mind when Conrad learned of a woman who leads trips around the world for jewelers to study their craft in the context of other cultures.

“I would like to do something like that, get a group of my students together and find some sort of art community that we all can be a part of for a weekend ... and see how things are done in other cultures, says Conrad.

“I really love turning people onto, not only art, but also how people express themselves,” says Conrad. “The differences in community, the differences in culture but being tied together with art. Art is such an amazing and empowering, universal form of communication and expression”

The award was created by the Robert H. McKinney Family Endowment, a fund of Central Indiana Community Foundation, to remember Arlene “Skip” McKinney, long-time Art Center student, accomplished artist and community leader.

The McKinney’s interviewed each finalist and carefully weighed their proposals and applications.

“Our mother found her voice in the classrooms of the Indianapolis Art Center,” says Lisa McKinney, Daughter of Arlene in a press release from the Art Center. “In establishing the Skip McKinney Faculty Award, it was our hope to recognize the Art Center faculty for their dedication to their craft and to building community.”

“I did not know Skip,” says Conrad. “I can imagine what the Art Center did for her as a teacher what the Art Center and my students do for me. I feel so grateful to have found the Art Center and be apart of it. I see the change and difference I make in people’s lives.”


Editor’s note: Kevin McKinney is the publisher, editor-in-chief and owner of NUVO Newsweekly 



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