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Arts advocacy goes on past work day

As if working a full-time job coordinating the arts needs of all of the students in the Appleton Area School District wasn’t enough t0 test the limits of anybody’s energy, Renee Ulman spends her free time volunteering with numerous nonprofit arts groups.

Renee’s official title is Fine Arts Coordinator for the Appleton Area School District. Her other titles are board member for the Mielke Family Foundation and the Trout Museum of Art and board president for the Makaroff Youth Ballet. Her work has earned her the 2018 Hanns Kretzschmar Award for Excellence in the Arts, sponsored by Thrivent Financial. It is one of seven volunteer awards being presented at the annual Celebrating Volunteers gala, April 26 at the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel in downtown Appleton. The event is sponsored by the Community Foundation and The Post-Crescent.

“Renee has a gift for seeing the potential in people,” said her nominator, friend and colleague Katy Hopp, “recognizing their strengths and bringing people together to work on common goals.”

She is described as a tireless worker and a graceful leader.

When the Makaroff Youth Ballet was operating without an executive director in 2014 as it was preparing for one of its major annual shows — The Nutcracker — Renee took over supervision of the production and stayed on top of the collaboration with other arts groups necessary to pull it off.

Jeanette Makaroff, artistic director of the youth ballet, said the volunteer honor is greatly deserved.

“I have complete confidence in Renee that she understands and respects how important it is to preserve this time-honored art form in our community now and in the future,” she said.

Renee will receive a $5,000 prize to distribute to favorite charities.

Register for Celebrating Volunteers by April 19.

Honoree Stories:


Hanns Kretzschmar Award for Excellence in the Arts – Renee Ulman

Paul & Elaine Groth Mentoring Award — Bob DeKoch

Youth Scholarship Award — Rachel Miserlian

Janet Berry Volunteer of the Year Award — Cheri Duchrow

Walter L. Rugland Community Service Award — Nancy Heykes

Health Care Volunteer Award — Jim and Sue Spierings

Business Partnership Award — Harbor House Domestic Abuse Programs and McMAHON

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