The Small family, owners of Small Newspaper Group and the Daily Journal, was awarded the Friends of the Arts Award Monday night at the 2016 annual meeting of the Community Arts Council of Kankakee County, held at Gravina 801 in Bradley.
Daily Journal Publisher Len R. Small and Calista Small received the award on behalf of the family, given for their "many contributions to the arts in our community," said Janice Miller, Community Arts Council president. Calista is the daughter of Deborah and Tom Small, the executive vice president of SNG.
"[The award] is given to someone who is not a member of the Community Arts Council but has supported the arts extensively," Miller said.
Miller cited their financial support and motivation behind the Kankakee County Museum and the Kankakee Valley Symphony Orchestra, including the annual Young Artists Piano Concerto Competition — which celebrated 40 years last month. This year, the Merchant Street Art Gallery of Artists with Autism opened in downtown Kankakee with their support.
"I am very grateful to Janice Miller and the council for this honor, and for the great job they do for our community," said Len Small.
"I want also to give credit to other family members not here, notably my brother Tom and his wife, Deborah, for their hard work for the symphony competition and for the Merchant Street Art Gallery of Artists with Autism," he added.
"I also should mention my wife, Marie-France, who talked the French Heritage Society into launching their traveling photo exposition on French history in America at the Small Museum a few years back," he said. "It was a major coup."
Calista also spoke about the positive impact of the Merchant Street gallery on her brother, Jonathan, and other area families.
The family was presented with an art piece designed by local glassblower Rich Ryan, of Vitreous Matter in Bourbonnais.
Also awarded during the event was the James Carlson Scholarship to Bryana Rea and Grace Knudson, both sophomores at Bradley-Bourbonnais High School. The award, in the amount of $200 each, will help send Rea and Knudson to art camps this summer.