The Clark State Performing Arts Center will honor John Landess with the prestigious Founder’s Award at the Clark State Circle of Friends Gala on April 21.
“John cares deeply for Springfield, and his strong support for the arts at Clark State makes so much creative programming possible, through such programs as Project Jericho, Arts Alive and Performing Arts Center programs,” said Dr. Jo Alice Blondin, president of Clark State. “I can think of no one more deserving of this recognition than John. We are grateful for his vision for the arts in our region.”
Landess, executive director of the Turner Foundation, has been a supporter of the Clark State Performing Arts Center since his return to Springfield in 2000. He said music has always been an important part of his life.
“I was involved in music from a young age through piano, musicals, choir and band in my middle and high school years,” he said. “I won the National Choral Music Award my senior year which encouraged me to go further, thus my venture to Nashville for college.”
A Springfield native, Landess received his BBA from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee in 1988. He worked in various capacities in Nashville over the next 12 years, spending the last five of those years at AmSouth Bank as vice president of retirement planning.
Landess said his family understands the power of music and the arts and its importance in having a well-rounded community—a community that can attract the next generation of the Springfield residents.
“Music is such a powerful performance medium, and the Clark State Performing Arts Center plays a central role in providing that platform for our community,” he said. “Whether it's local artists performing or bringing in regional and national artists to perform for the community, it is the hub that brings us all downtown. It's impossible to imagine our community without the Clark State Performing Arts Center.”
Landess also serves on the boards of The Westcott House Foundation, Mission Increase Foundation, United Fiberglass of America and is board chair of the Dayton Development Coalition. He resides in Springfield with his wife Jill and their three children.
“My favorite performance at the Clark State Performing Arts Center was Kenny Loggins - although I'd love to see if Bruce Hornsby could outdo him,” said Landess. “I'm also a big fan of the Springfield Symphony, and my wife Jill is a lover of Broadway musicals.”
The Circle of Friends created the Founder’s Award in 2004 to recognize and honor those individuals and businesses who have contributed significantly to the success and sustainability of the Clark State Performing Arts Center. The committee selecting each year’s honoree is comprised of past Founder’s Award recipients.
“We’re very excited to be presenting John Landess with this year’s Founder’s Award,” said Adele Adkins, executive director of the Clark State Performing Arts Center. “He has been instrumental in making the Clark State Performing Arts Center a vital community asset.”
As the Founder’s Award recipient, Landess will be presented with a sculpture by Michael Major. The sculpture combines some of the mass shapes of the Performing Arts Center to create a performing figure, celebrating generous giving and artistic excellence.
The Circle of Friends is a dedicated group of professionals that advises and supports the Clark State Performing Arts Center of programming, marketing and fundraising.
The Circle of Friends Gala, presented by Kapp Construction and Security National Bank, will begin at 5 p.m. at the Hollenbeck Bayley Creative Arts and Conference Center in downtown Springfield.
Celtic Woman will take the stage at 8 p.m. in the Kuss Auditorium at the Clark State Performing Arts Center. The 2017 Grammy nominated Celtic Woman is a female vocal ensemble that performs a mix of Celtic, new age and adult contemporary music. Celtic Woman first rose to acclaim with an energetic stage show that shared much in common with similarly minded productions like Riverdance.