It always has the makings for a good, "What do so-and-so, so-and-so and so-and-so have in common?" question, except the folks we're talking about are usually more accurately regarded as a who's who of Bluegrass State creativity. The Downtown Lexington Corporation has announced the 2007 recipients of its Kentucky Stars Awards.
And they are:
David Dick, journalist: From 1966 to 1985, Dick was one of the leading voices for CBS News. Among the events he covered were the Jonestown Massacre in Guyana, the invasion of the Falkland Islands, the White House in the Nixon and Johnson Administrations and the Presidential campaigns of George Wallace. In 1972, he won an Emmy Award for his coverage of an assassination attempt on Wallace. He has also written numerous books, including the recent A Journal for Lalie: Living Through Prostate Cancer, and is a former dean of the University of Kentucky School of Journalism. Dick's son, Sam Dick, is currently an evening anchor for WKYT in Lexington.
Warren Hammack, actor and director: Hammack has acted and directed all over the United States, but his crowning achievement was building Horse Cave Theatre, now Kentucky Repertory Theatre, in the small town of Horse Cave. When he arrived in Horse Cave in the mid-1970s no businesses were flourishing, and many were struggling to survive. But Hammack built the theater into a professional shop that became an attraction for tourists traveling I-65 as well as theater lovers who made the repertory theater an annual destination and area theater fans who bought season tickets. Hammack retired in 2002, and former Lexington thespian Robert Brock has since served as the artistic director, leading a name change and mission change. The theater once presented plays mainly in the summertime, and now presents productions year round. (Photo: Hammack (center) with Lexington actor Walter May (left) and Brock (right), photographed by Hobie Hiler in 2000.)
John Jacob Niles, musician: Niles was born in Louisville in 1892 and in addition to being a noted composer and performer, also became a major force in documenting and preserving Appalachian folk music. Among his publications were Impressions of a Negro Camp Meeting, Seven Kentucky Mountain Songs and The Ballad Book. He was also a recording artist for the RCA Red Seal label. The John Jacob Niles Center for American Music at the University of Kentucky is named in his honor.
Arturo Alonzo Sandoval, artist: Sandoval is one of the faces of visual arts in Lexington and a nationally known fiber artist with his works held in prestigious institutions such as New York's Museum of Modern Art. Some of his permanent installations include the mammoth pieces on each side of the Singletary Center for the Arts concert hall. Sandoval is an art professor at the University of Kentucky.
Robert Penn Warren, writer: The three-time Pulitzer Prize winner was born down near the Tennessee boarder in Guthrie. His prize-winning novels include Promise: Poems 1954-1956, Now and Then: Poems 1976-1978 and All the Kings Men. He is the only author to win Pulitzers for fiction and poetry. Among his other awards is the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
The Kentucky Stars will be honored in a ceremony at the Downtown Arts Center at 6 p.m. Nov. 7. The ceremony is free and open to the public. They will also have their names put in bronze plaques placed along Main Street in Lexington.