Teachers And Students Take Top Honors At Arts Council’s Annual Awards Ceremony


Teachers and their students were honored at the Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana’s annual Arts Awards ceremony Thursday evening at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Downtown Evansville.

Mayor Lloyd Winnecke presented Katie Waters with the prestigious Mayor’s Arts Award. Waters, a recently retired art teacher, worked at the University of Southern Indiana for 28 years. Retired art teacher Jon Siau was honored with the Arts Council award. Siau taught more than 3,500 students in his career at North High School.

Waters and Siau taught the winner of the Visual Arts Award, Jonathan Hittner, while he attended USI and North High School, respectively.

Waters said working in the arts is the most rewarding and fulfilling part of her life.

“The inventiveness and imagination of the human mind is without limit. Art is universal. It brings us together and connects us – across time, geography and cultures. Art’s search for truth and beauty leads us to the highpoint of what it means to be fully human,” she said.

Another student-teacher pair won awards at Thursday’s event. Signature School art teacher Kyle Darnell took home the Arts Educator Award and his student, Olive Bousman, won the Young Artist Award.

Local community leaders presented seven awards, to the following:

Mayor’s Art Award – Katie Waters
Arts Council Award – Jon Siau
Visual Arts Award – Jonathan Hittner Performing Arts Award – Kevin Roach
Young Artist Award – Olive Bouseman
Arts Educator Award – Kyle Darnell
Arts Community Award – PG / Pionear Group



About Katie Waters (Mayor’s Art Award): It was an honor and a pleasure for Katie Waters to have been part of her students’ journey towards their greatest artistic potential.

Katie taught painting and drawing at the University of Southern Indiana from 1981 to this year. Additionally, she served as Art Department Chair for seventeen years, and as Interim Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts in 2003-2004. From fall 2009 – fall 2018 she was Director of the McCutchan Art Center/Pace Galleries on the USI campus.

Her drawings and paintings appear in many corporate, university, museum, and private collections and have been exhibited widely at the national and regional levels, including Matter, Mind, Spirit: 12 Contemporary Indiana Women Artists at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C.

“My work in the arts has been the most rewarding and fulfilling facet of my life. The inventiveness and imagination of the human mind is without limit. Art is universal; it brings us together and connects us – across time, geography, and cultures. Art’s search for truth and beauty leads us to the highpoint of what it means to be fully human.”

About Jon Siau (Arts Council Award): From the 3,500 students he taught at North High School over the course of 42 years to having his art viewed in all 50 states and every nation on Earth, Jon Siau dedicates his life to art.

Jon’s art career is littered with awards and honors, including — but not at all limited to — two University of Evansville / Evansville Courier “Teacher of the Year” awards, two national honors, Evansville Living’s reader’s choice for “Most Outstanding Educator” in 2008, EVSC and Harrison High School Hall of Fame, and the 1994 recipient of the Arts Council’s “Arts Educator of the Year” award.

Jon also supported the arts and community through civic participation. He served of the Arts Council’s Board of Directors, the Evansville Museum of Art, History and Science’s art committee

“Creating, teaching, sharing, viewing, and discussing art has been a constant passion throughout my life. A world without the arts is a barren, desolate place — doomed to fail,” he said. “I am proud to be part of such a vibrant community, one that values and embraces all the arts.”

Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana mission: Enhancing quality of life and supporting economic development through advocacy and promotion of the arts, arts education, and arts organizations in Southwestern Indiana.