At a recent national arts conference, Karen Goeschko of Lake Mills, Assistant Director of the Wisconsin Arts Board, was awarded the 2020 Robert E. Gard Leadership Award. This award, given annually by the Robert E. Gard Foundation, honors an individual whose career has been devoted to furthering the arts, and community development through the arts.

“Gard was committed to ensuring that rural people-or anyone who might be overlooked-should have the encouragement, creative tools and setting to tell their story,” said Foundation board member Maryo Gard Ewell. “Those who nominated her recognized that Karen’s work is based on these same beliefs.”Goeschko has worked for the state Arts Board for many years, coordinating outreach activities, working with Arts Wisconsin, managing grants programs and more. Executive Director George Tzougros noted that, in addition, “She is a leader among her peers nationally, a past chair of an affinity group for Americans for the Arts, and a grant proposal reviewer for the National Endowment for the Arts. In Lake Mills, in Wisconsin, and nationally her work has touched many, many people.

”She interned at Americans for the Arts and worked for the West Virginia Division of Culture and History prior to coming to work in Wisconsin. Last year’s awardee, Barbara Schaffer-Bacon of Massachusetts, said in the ceremony that it was fitting that this award should be given to a Wisconsinite.

“Wisconsin is especially blessed when it comes to the arts, not only because of Gard’s pioneering work itself, but also for the foundation he laid for people like Karen to expand upon.”

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