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Volunteer Leadership in the Arts

Hanns Kretzschmar Award for Excellence in the Arts

Photo: Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

This award recognizes an individual for leadership and volunteer service in local arts organizations and activities. An award of $5,000 will be presented to the recipient’s Fox Valley charity(ies) of choice.

Our 2019 winner is Karla Huston!

Watch Karla’s Award Video, filmed and produced by video production students at University of Wisconsin – Fox Valley and Instructor Tom Frantz:


Poet Karla Huston brings ‘a sparkling enthusiasm’ to arts leadership

Karla is an Appleton poet, educator, mentor and promoter of the arts. A native of West Salem, Wisconsin, she is a graduate of University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and taught English at Neenah High School for 15 years. Having published several books of poetry, she’s become a nationally recognized writer. She earned a Pushcart Prize and served a two-year term as Poet Laureate of Wisconsin.

She’s spent the past 32 years in Appleton.

“Karla is one of the hardest working, most genuine artists I know, an inspiration to teachers, students and fellow artists,” said Cathy Cofell-Mutschler, who nominated Huston for this award. “She gives herself openly and humbly, asking nothing in return but for the community to open its heart and mind to the beauty that is poetry.”

Huston is a founding board member of the Mill: A Place for Writers, the nonprofit that gathers Fox Cities writers of all levels to offer instruction, encouragement and community.

Since 1996 she’s been involved with the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets, having served as both a membership chairperson and regional vice president in the past. The organization is dedicated to the writing and appreciation of poetry and has more than 500 members.

Read more about Karla here in the Post-Crescent.

Award sponsor since 2001:


  • A volunteer who has a long-standing commitment to the Fox Cities arts community.
  • A volunteer who has noteworthy personal involvement in developing and promoting the arts within the community.

Who Qualifies?

An individual who meets the above criteria and who has positively impacted the arts in the Fox Cities. Candidate must reside or do the majority of their volunteer work in Outagamie, Calumet, Waupaca or northern Winnebago counties. Nomination form

2018 Recipient

Renee Ulman recipient of the Celebrating Our Volunteers Hanns Kretzschmar Award for Excellence in Arts.
Wm. Glasheen/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

Renee Ulman – She directed her $5,000 prize to Makaroff Youth Ballet.

Read: Arts advocacy goes on past work day  

Renee Ulman walks the walk in the arts community

Check out her video story:

Past recipients
2017: Carolyn Ragusett
2016: Jennifer Johnson
2015: Jim Heiks
2014: Lynn Hagee
2013: Beth Flaherty
2012: Maury Laws
2011: Arlene Trettin
2010: Mary Schmidt
2009: Mary Harp-Jirschele
2008: The Post-Crescent
2007: Frank Rippl & Carol Jegen
2006: Rick Bjella
2005: Karen Laws
2004: Eileen Herrling

Honorees prior to the award joining the Celebrating Volunteers Gala:
2003 Austin Boncher
2002 John Felker
2001 Ellen Kort