The Evanston Arts Council’s Arts & Business Committee has named First Bank & Trust the recipient of its 2010 Leadership Award.

The annual award honors an Evanston-based business that has shown extraordinary support for the arts in Evanston, either financially or through the provision of in-kind services, or both. The award is being presented at the annual Mayor’s State of the City luncheon this noon at the Hilton Orrington downtown,

“We are so happy to be honoring First Bank. In 2010 alone, they supported over 15 local arts organizations by sponsoring concerts and events, featuring cultural photos in their windows, advertising in benefit program books, and donating in-kind services. They truly are involved in the Evanston community,” explains Penny Rotheiser, Chair of the Arts & Business Committee.

Founded in 1995 by Howard Kain, Jay Lytle and Robert Yohanan, First Bank & Trust takes pride in its sense of community.

“First Bank & Trust is extremely pleased to be receiving this Leadership Award. We have always felt that the arts are an important part of the community’s culture. As a result, we have been a strong supporter of the arts since we formed the bank over 15 years ago,” says Howard Kain, Managing Director of First Bank & Trust.

In keeping with the tradition of having a local artist create the award, this year’s award was designed by Nancy Sickbert-Wheeler, a metalsmith/jewelry designer who teaches at the Evanston Art Center and is a long-time Evanston resident.

Previous Leadership Award winners include Whole Foods Evanston, Romano Bros. & Co., and Jim Nash for Farnsworth-Hill, Inc.

The Arts & Business Committee consists of local arts organizations and business leaders who joined together to increase the awareness and support of the arts in Evanston and to use the arts to bring more business into the city. The committee is co-chaired by arts advocate Rotheiser, and Paul Giddings, co-owner of FolkWorks Gallery.

Other awards announced at the luncheon were made by the mayor to the Evanston Children’s Choir and television personality Bill Campbell.

The Mayor’s Award for the Arts is presented annually to an Evanston arts organization and an individual for contributions to the community through excellence in the arts. Recipients are selected from nominations submitted by the public.

The Evanston Children’s Choir is a young and rapidly growing organization that is in residence at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center. Founded in 2002 with only three kids, the organization is now in its ninth year and is comprised of more than 100 singers divided into several groups. The organization has performed in a variety of venues, including the Rosemont Theatre, the Alice Millar Chapel in Evanston, and the Harris Theater in downtown Chicago. Evanston Children’s Choir has earned a solid reputation for its emphasis on multiculturalism, inclusion and accessibility, positive energy and musical excellence.

Bill Campbell is known to many as the longtime host of Chicagoing, a weekly WLS-TV ABC 7 program that showcased the rich culture and history of the Chicago metropolitan area.

A three-time Emmy Award winner, Campbell’s career at ABC 7 spanned more than three decades, during which time he launched CampbellQuest, an executive and life coaching, consulting, and public speaking company.

He serves on the board of directors of the Evanston Community Foundation and the Greater Chicago Food Depository. He has also served as the Honorary Chair and master of ceremonies at the Evanston Ethnic Arts Festival for a dozen years.

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