NUVO 2012 Cultural Vision Award winners 

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Now in its 14th year, NUVO's Cultural Vision Awards were created to celebrate individuals and organizations that are pathfinders - folks bringing new perspectives and innovative ideas to Indianapolis' understanding of itself.

NUVO defines cultural vision in its most inclusive sense. We look for people and programs whose creativity enlarges our city's self-image and enhances our quality of life. Every year that the NUVO Editorial team combs through nominations that come to us through readers, community contacts and past honorees, we are reminded of the many compelling ways people in Indianapolis have found to make life better.

We will celebrate the winners at a ceremony on June 1 at the Athenaeum. Details to come.

This year's winners:

46 for XLVI: Arts Council of Indianapolis
The Arts Council's mural project, begun last July, has been enlivening urban walls with works of art in celebration of the city's hosting the 46th annual Super Bowl. But while the Super Bowl may be the pretext for 46 For XLVI, this project is about a lot more than an operatically hyped football game. It has resuscitated Indianapolis' faltering public art program, provided artists with meaningful work and promises to make mural art a nationally recognized part of the city's cultural profile. ACI's Dave Lawrence, with support from the mayor's office, has championed this public art form - to the delight of all.

Nate Jackson, IUPUI
Jackson became IUPUI executive chef last fall, and immediately began transforming the food culture at the university in multiple ways. First, he got rid of Styrofoam, in lieu of more eco-friendly receptacles. He's engaged in getting as much locally sourced food available to the students and faculty as possible, and he's leading the growth of urban farming on campus. Up to 5,000 people eat on campus on any given day, so Jackson's interest in raising the level of awareness regarding good nutrition, less waste and locally sourced food is reaching a lot of people! Look to NUVO soon for a profile of Jackson.

The Project School
This K-8 mayor-supported charter school occupies formerly vacant space in the old National Car Factory in the Martindale-Brightwood neighborhood and is filling an educational void in the near northside. The Project School is dedicated to educating the whole child with project-based learning. Projects include Project Endure, a not-for-profit creation of the Project School's Tarrey Banks, where 8th-12th graders are taken on annual adventure treks. Project School partners with a myriad of organizations: Center for Urban Ecology, Big City Farms, Growing Places Indy, Indy's Kitchen and People for Urban Progress - just to name a few! More on the Project School.

The workers at Indy's RecycleForce understand the value of discarded objects. Society cast them off, too - into the criminal justice system. After squaring up with the law, they all need a second shot. And that's where RecycleForce comes in. The firm has grown from two employees in 2006 to employ 16 full-time staff and around 50 ex-offenders cycling through its training programs on a given week. The program is designed to train them for the private-sector workforce and help them overcome any number obstacles that may prevent successful re-integration into society.  In the process, the team has recycled more than 11 million pounds of materials since its inception. More than 200 ex-offenders have found permanent, unsubsidized employment through RecycleForce.

Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library
This one-of-a-kind destination in Indianapolis honors native son Kurt Vonnegut in a variety of ways, from its expansive library to its national outreach. It's been quite a year for the organization, as they weighed in on the national conversation regarding the banning of Slaughterhouse-Five in Missouri. Also, they are building a board of directors with an impressive lineup, including the nationally known comic, Lewis Black. The beloved Vonnegut needed a central location to be properly appreciated, and Julia Whitehead and friends stepped up.

Tamara Zahn
Zahn formed Indianapolis Downtown, Inc. in 1993 a not-for-profit organization focused on developing, managing and marketing downtown Indianapolis. And what an amazing two decades this has been! With Zahn at the helm of IDI, the revitalization of the downtown is revealed for all to see, including some 80 projects totaling $3 billion, featuring 3,000 new downtown homes and six cultural districts. A prolific board member with such organizations as Indianapolis Cultural Trail and Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association, Zahn can now add a CVA to her wealth of awards that includes a Sagamore of the Wabash.

Lifetime Achievement Award winner: John Mutz
John Mutz's long service to Indiana stretches over five decades. His resume is staggering, with leadership roles at the Lumina Foundation, PSI Energy, Lilly Endowment and Indianapolis Department of Waterworks. He has served as a state representative and state senator, along with a two-term stint as lieutenant governor. His community service directorships include the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, the Indiana Stadium and Convention Building Authority, the Indiana and Indianapolis chambers of commerce, Indianapolis Zoological Society, Indianapolis Museum of Art, and the United Way of Central Indiana. We honor Mr. Mutz for his dedication to improving the lives of all Hoosiers.

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