Jefferson Awards: An Advocate for the Arts and Artists

Art appears in many ways, shapes, and forms. For Carolyn Krueger, the same goes for public service.

"She does so many things I can't keep up," said Carolyn's friend, Gary Burlingame.

When Carolyn is now working on her own craft - pottery - she's helping others with theirs.

"The more people I meet, the more events I get involved with, the more artists are out there and they just keep coming and we nurture them in the Quad Cities," said Carolyn.

Carolyn is the Manager and Owner of The ARTery in Downtown Rock Island, Illinois.

"There's nothing else around that I know of that's quite like this," said Gary, who volunteers at The ARTery.

It's the first of its kind where artists can rest some space, sell their creations, and keep 100% of the money they make.

"A lot of galleries are juried, which half our gallery is," explained Carolyn. "I am the judge and jury when it comes to the ARTery and basically I will give anybody a chance."

"I get a lot of fresh out of school people who have never been in a gallery before," she added. "I've taught a lot of people how to put a wire on the back of their paintings so they can hang it on a wall. You know, you have to start somewhere and we are often that place for people."

Carolyn's other "place" is the Family Museum, where she's been an Art Instructor for more than 10 years. She's also a Member of Rock Island's Arts Advisory Committee, which gave her the idea to start an outdoor farmer's market specifically for artists last summer at Skellington Key in Rock Island.

"It's not like we are reinventing the wheel or something," Carolyn said in an interview with WQAD News 8 in Summer 2016. "It's not like the artist market is a new concept, but it's the first time we have done it here in the Quad Cities like this."

"I just keep doing what I do," she said. "I wake up every day and I either have my hands in clay or I'm playing with the kids in water colors and paints or hanging a show here."

And here, at The ARTery on nights like the Annual Gallery Hop, Carolyn is able to get many of the people she helps into one room to prove the importance of art.

"I think Carolyn represents the best thing we can have in young people involved in the arts, because it's not for personal fame or glory," explained Gary. "She may make a few dollars here or there - we hope - selling her pottery, but otherwise it's pretty much a matter of helping to make young artists grow and find their way of expressing their creativity."

That's why Carolyn is being nominated for the Jefferson Award.

"I'm really touched," she said. "I think it's great. I get a lot of people one on one thanking me for what I do, but not everybody sees the whole picture."

It's a picture that will always speak louder than words to Carolyn...

"I've been a lifetime artist. It's been a life love for me. There was never any question what I was going to be when I grow up. The question only came in the form of how do I do it."

...in all ways, shapes, and forms.

The Jefferson Awards

It's all about the people who are changing our community. For the third season, WQAD News 8 and Genesis Health System are bringing you eight local nominees of the Jefferson Award. The Jefferson Awards Foundation is a prestigious national recognition system honoring community and public volunteerism in America, or as well call them, "unsung heroes." On the last Tuesday of every month, WQAD News 8 will announce one nominee. Then, in Spring 2017, one of the eight will represent the Quad Cities in Washington, D.C. at the National Jefferson Awards Ceremony.