John, Helen Schaefer to Receive Shelley Award at 2014 Governor's Arts Awards

John, Helen Schaefer to Receive Shelley Award at 2014 Governor's Arts Awards

John P. and Helen S. Schaefer, whose multi-faceted legacy spans arts, culture and education, will receive the 9th annual Shelley Award at the 33rd Governor's Arts Awards on March 25 at the Mesa Arts Center, 1 E. Main Street in Mesa.

The award, named in honor of former Arizona Commission on the Arts Executive Director Shelley Cohn, is presented to an individual or individuals who have advanced the arts through strategic and innovative work in creating or supporting public policy beneficial to the arts in Arizona. Selections are made by a committee of business, arts and cultural leaders and past Shelley Award winners.

The 2014 Governor's Arts Awards will recognize honorees in six categories for their substantial and outstanding contribution to arts and culture statewide.

"The Schaefers could easily have received the Shelley Award as individuals, but together they are a powerful and symbolic reflection of what the award represents," said Catherine "Rusty" Foley, executive director of Arizona Citizens for the Arts. "They have created a lasting and remarkable legacy that is most impactful in the depth and breadth of the people in and out of Arizona it touches."

John Schaefer is president emeritus of the University of Arizona, where he had an active 21-year career in teaching and research. A conservationist and avid birdwatcher, he helped organize the Tucson Audubon Society and found the Nature Conservancy in Arizona. In addition to his academic and conservation work, Schaefer is a skilled photographer who, with Ansel Adams, founded the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona. He was instrumental in securing funding for the Phoenix Art Museum Norton Art Gallery.

"The archives of Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Henry Callahan, Aaron Siskind, EuGene Smith, FredeRick Sommer and many more are in Arizona for scholars to study and for a world-wide audience to appreciate," wrote former Shelley Award winner Darryl Dobras. "Seldom, if ever, does one individual have such a major impact on art collections housed in Arizona."

Schaefer has served on the boards of Arizona Theatre Company, Tucson Museum of Art, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson Audubon Society, Southwest Parks and Monuments Associations, Patronatos de San Xavier and the Arizona State Museum.

Helen Schafer is the former chair of the UofA College of Humanities Advisory Board and a longtime member of the Poetry Center Development Committee. The Helen P. Schaefer Building today is home to the Arizona Poetry Center, which houses one of the nation's most exceptional library collections of contemporary poetry and is dedicated to the advancement and celebration of poetry.

She also is a former member of the both the Honorary Advisory Board and Board of Directors of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra and she has served on the boards of the YWCA Tucson, the Arizona Repertory Singers, the Council on Aging Foundation and the YMCA. She also is a founding board member of the Women's Foundation of Southern Arizona, and an early board member and former president of Arizonans for Cultural Development, now known as Arizona Citizens for the Arts.

Tickets for the Academy Award-style Governor's Arts Awards are $135 for members of Arizona Citizens for the Arts and $150 for nonmembers and include hors d'oeuvres, silent auction, the awards ceremony and dessert. Sponsorships are available. Current sponsors include: APS - Presenting Sponsor; SRP - Audio-Visual and Print Sponsor; Resolution Copper Mining - Nominees' Sponsor; Arizona Lottery - Artist Award Sponsor; Mesa Arts Center - Venue Sponsor.

For more information and to register visit

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