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Our Voice: Noa Staryk: Comments from the 2010 McKnight Artist Fellowships reception

September 22, 2010 – McKnight board director Noa Staryk speaks at the September celebration honoring the 2010 McKnight Artist Fellows.

Opening Comments: Laura Zimmerman, Arts program officer

My name is Laura Zimmerman and I run the program here at the Foundation.  It is a privilege to do this kind of work in Minnesota, where we have a rich variety of world-class artists whose choice to live here makes a difference every day.  I am proud to do it in a foundation where we have board and staff leadership whose commitment to individual artists has not flinched in nearly 30 years.

As most of you know, the fellowship program consists of 12 different awards operated in nine community sites. Each fall the foundation brings together all the artist fellows from each of those sites. With your devoted and committed family, friends, arts leaders and McKnight staff and board, we want to congratulate you and toast to you. 

We have a couple of foundation board member who are here: Noa Staryk, who will speak in a few moments and Ted Staryk.  I also want to acknowledge the president of The McKnight Foundation, Kate Wolford, who has been a wonderful advocate and supporter of the arts program. 

Noa Staryk: Address to the 2010 McKnight Artists Fellows

Good evening and welcome to our home here at The McKnight Foundation. It's amazing to see such a big crowd tonight.

On behalf of The McKnight Foundation board of directors, I would like to extend a heartfelt congratulations to all of the 2010 McKnight fellows. We are delighted to have you, along with your family, friends, and colleagues here this evening, to celebrate your individual and collective artistic achievements.

You are now part of an esteemed group of Minnesota artists that have been honored through McKnight Artist Fellowship since the program's inception in 1982. At McKnight, we have supported individual artists for over 25 years because we so strongly believe that the vision of gifted artists brings light, energy, resilience, and brilliance to our whole community. And we are just thrilled to be here this evening to honor and celebrate you.

As a group, you are passionate about what you do. You have a drive, an innate need to create. You are resourceful, you are thoughtful and thought-provoking. The gift given to our community by you and the work that you produce is truly phenomenal.

Your work adds color, light, movement, and story to our world. Your work provokes, guides, delights, and heals. Your work reflects values, cultures, and histories. And your work illuminates our humanness and our humanity.

Indeed, as you pursue your passion through your artwork you give us so much. You give us work that not only animates stages and pages, canvases and screens, studios and galleries, but also neighborhoods, schools, community centers, parks, and waterways — the places that we go together and the places that we go to be alone.

And you give these profound gifts, despite all the immense obstacles and through great effort because it is your passion. We thank you for sharing your passion with us and thereby immeasurably enriching our lives. 

We appreciate your commitment to do that which you love. And we very much appreciate that you have made this commitment here, in Minnesota.

So, thank you, thank you, thank you, all around, for all that you do.