and “Patron of the Arts” at 2022 Event
Each year, Ashley for the Arts recognizes individuals and organizations that promote the non-profit’s mission, “Showcasing the Arts. Supporting Humanity”. This year, the organization will return to the stage to present the annual Patron of the Arts award and will also add the Ashley for the Arts Humanitarian award. Both will be presented live at this year’s event.
The Humanitarian Award was created to celebrate those who have gone above and beyond in serving the communities that surround Arcadia, the home of the Ashley for the Arts annual event. This year, schools and organizations, within a 60-mile radius of Arcadia, were invited to nominate an individual or group that they felt exemplified what it meant to be a Humanitarian. Following a selection process through the Ashley for the Arts committee, Dave “Boots” Bjorge was chosen as the 2022 Humanitarian Award recipient.
Dave Bjorge has a deep-rooted background in the Arcadia community. He has served as a co-chairman for the annual Arcadia Broiler Dairy Days Festival, as a member of the Arcadia Lion’s Club. He also has been leading the onsite logistics for the annual Pursuit of a Cure Run/Walk at Ashley for the Arts for the past eight years. On top of these roles, he has been the Arcadia High School softball head coach for 19 years. Dave concluded his time following the 2022 season, after almost two decades of numerous conference, regional, and sectional championships, including a state championship and Coach of the Year honors.
“I learned early on when I started coaching how supportive our community is and I wanted to be able to give something back. I joined the Lions Club and have volunteered for Ashley for the Arts every year they’ve had it and have been very involved at school,” said Dave Bjorge. “I grew up and have lived in Arcadia most of my life and we have a wonderful, supportive community! I am truly humbled and honored to receive this award!”
“I believe my father is very deserving of this award for the numerous ways he has served the community that he has been in for his entire life,” explained Kendra Bjorge, Dave’s daughter, who submitted the nomination. Dave will be recognized on the main stage prior to Train’s performance on Friday, August 12th at 7:00 PM.
In addition, the Patron of the Arts award recipient is selected by the Ashley for the Arts committee to honor individual(s) or an organization that has demonstrated extraordinary support for the arts. Ashley for the Arts will recognize Greg and Krista Johnson with the prestigious “Patron of the Arts” award on Saturday, August 13th, on the main stage, before Cole Swindell’s performance at 7:00 PM.
Greg and Krista Johnson have made significant contributions to the art community over the past several years. In 2014, Artisan Forge Studio (AFS) was created with the dream of being a place where artists and creatives could connect with the community and help develop a unified voice for artists. The studio has hosted art shows, music events, fashion shows, cultural events, food and dance, public art events and large-scale sculptures, murals and more. The organization provides opportunities for young people to explore their talents and creativity.
When asked about how the couple began their passion for art, Greg explained, “while the idea and concept originated from my time as an artist, as well as the experiences gained visiting numerous art galleries and shows, it has been a labor of love and pure dedication by many individuals who have helped bring this idea to fruition.” The Artisan Forge studio was created from this passion for art.
“Our mission of Fostering Creativity, Community, Collaboration and Education still remains the primary building blocks for all that we do here,” continued Greg. This studio has provided the city of Eau Claire as well as the entire area with the primary building blocks to fulfill dreams of being artists.
“While it seems like things are ever changing here at AFS we are firmly committed to maintaining relevance for our artists, activities, and our community, providing fresh ideas within the context of Art. We encourage anyone who loves the arts like we do to be a part of the bigger community and support all of us who dream, inspire, and dream to be inspired every day,” said Greg. Over 100 artists, creatives, and small business owners have called Artisan Forge Studio home at some point along their journey.
“We are proud to say that we continue to be full to the brim with over 42 tenants who call AFS home.”
Photo download: https://we.tl/t-9UmI1fZ25i
Ashley for the Arts is a nonprofit initiative that provides the entire family with world class entertainment, art, exercise, and family fun for a remarkably low cost. The organization is one of Wisconsin’s largest charity events, donating over $3 Million since its inception to more than 65 nonprofit organizations, including participating schools, children’s charities, and medical research. This music and arts festival was conceptualized and established by Ashley Furniture Industries in 2009 and takes place in Arcadia, Wisconsin’s Memorial Park. For more information on Ashley for the Arts, visit www.AshleyfortheArts.com. Follow Ashley for the Arts on Facebook and @AshleyfortheArts on Instagram.