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Creative Washtenaw
Medals for Arts, Sciences & Humanities
+ 21st Century Awards

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We celebrate to trumpet the triumphs of the arts and creative industries.

Awarded annually, The Creative Washtenaw Medals for Arts, Sciences & Humanities honor and celebrate the extraordinary contributions and accomplishments of artists, creatives, individuals, businesses and organizations who have deep roots in Washtenaw County, Michigan. Medal recipients are celebrated for exemplary achievements in advancing the arts, sciences and humanities and increasing public awareness of the creative sector in the greater Ann Arbor area. Through their actions, leadership, philanthropy and body of work, medalist make their mark, set the standard for excellence and serve as an example for others to follow.

Lifetime Achievement

Presented in recognition of outstanding and sustained artistic and creative accomplishments within the arts, sciences and/or humanities receiving national and or international acclaim.


    • 2023 John Nick Pappas, artist, sculpture, educator
    • 2022 George Shirley, tenor, musician, educator
    • 2021 Wills C. Patterson, artist, activist educator
    • 2020 Peter Madcat Ruth, musician, harmonica
    • 2019 William Bolcom & Joan Morris
    • 2018 Linda Yohn, jazz music broadcaster
    • 2017 Carla Dirlikov Canales, vocalist, arts ambassador
    • 2016 Loren Estleman, author
    • 2015 Jeff Daniels, actor, playwright, musician


Outstanding Service

Presented in recognition of outstanding leadership and significant contributions made in furthering the fields of the arts, sciences and humanities in Washtenaw County and beyond.


    • 2023 Ann Arbor Film Festival
    • 2022 Russell B. Collins, executive director, Michigan Theater Foundation
    • 2021 Ann Arbor Observer
    • 2020 William & Verna Hayes, founders, Ypsilanti Youth Orchestra
    • 2019 Aaron P. & Afa S. Dworkin
    • 2018 John & Debbie Dingell
    • 2017 Ken Fischer, president, UMS,, arts presenter
    • 2016 Masco Corporation
    • 2015 Destination Ann Arbor



Presented in recognition of a phenomenal history of leadership and philanthropy to advance the arts, sciences and humanities.



    • 2023 Larry & Lucie Nisson
    • 2022 Martha Darling & Gil Omenn
    • 2021 Bank of Ann Arbor
    • 2020 Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation
    • 2019 William & Mary Kinley
    • 2018 Bob & Marina Whitman
    • 2017 The Buhr Foundation
    • 2016 The Harry A. & Margaret D. Towsley Foundation
    • 2015 Ambassador Ronald N. & Mrs. Eileen Weiser



The Tamara Real Emerging Leader Award

Presented to encourage the promising potential to advance the arts, sciences and humanities in Washtenaw County for many years to come. The award is named in honor of Tamara Real who played a significant role in launching The Creative Washtenaw as she heightened awareness of the value of Washtenaw County's creative sector while mentoring and championing emerging creative sector leaders.

  • 2018 Jermaine Dickerson - Founder, Hero Nation
  • 2017 Allison L. Buck
  • 2016 Cre Fuller, Sherri Green & Marcy Davy  Haywood - Founders, DIYpsi Indie Art Fair
  • 2015 Omari Rush

Excellence in Education Award

Presented to a noted individual, school, business or organization that has made a significant contribution to the advancement of the arts, sciences and humanities education in Washtenaw County.

  •  2016 Wild Swan Theater
  •  2015 Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum

Spotlight Artist Award

Presented to an individual or group of individuals who has/have excelled in their artistic discipline and demonstrated promising potential locally and nationally.

  • 2017 Laith Al-Saadi, musician
Creative Washtenaw