The Moonshell Arts and Humanities Council of Hall County is proud to announce the winners of its 2015 Arts and Humanities awards. The award winners have all made outstanding contributions to the arts and humanities in Hall County. The Council will honor them at the 14th Annual Moonshell Awards Banquet on Sunday, April 12, 2015 at 6:00 p.m. at Riverside Golf Club. The winners are:

Bartenbach Galleries for its generous support of the arts community by hosting the annual “Wings Over the Platte” and “Hall County Student Art Show” art exhibits while the Stuhr Museum was under renovation as well as hosting the Midwest Fibre Art Alliance exhibits and shows by local artists. Bartenbach Galleries donated framed art for the new office of CASA, the Heartland Court Appointed Special Advocates and has been generous to other organizations as well.

Nancy Schmerdtmann for the excellent job she has done as chairperson of the Textile Arts Department of the Nebraska State Fair since the Fair moved to Grand Island. Through her diligence, the number, quality and categories of the exhibits have grown and the Textile Arts have become a must-see exhibit for many fairgoers. For the artists, she reorganized the entire catalogue of exhibits and created new and inspiring categories. For the viewers, she brought in demonstrations of various textile artists at work and rearranged the exhibits and viewing area to make it more accessible and enjoyable.

UM4GI for holding the musical U2charist services at the Grand Theatre on Maundy Thursday for the last two years. The services feature local musicians playing the songs of U2 and Bono. The services carry an humanitarian message and include mixed media performances.

Connie Clark for giving and sharing the gift of dance to hundreds of Hall County students. Connie teaches adults as well and generously shares her talents with the community.

Pam Ahlman and Deb Scheel for forming Debut! Youth Theatre Company which gives children in the third through eighth grade a chance to learn about musical theatre and gain acting and singing experience. The admission revenue is used to fund scholarships for young people going into the performing arts through the Betty Powell Lofgren and Shirley Anderson Scholarship Fund.

Madeline Leuhr for her many musical accomplishments but most notably her piano playing and composition. She has received superior ratings on her piano solos at District Music Contest for the past 3 years, plays piano for her church and for other organizations needing an accompanist. She gave a concert for the Wood River Performing Arts series which included several compositions she wrote.

MacKenzie Ahlman for her many performances on Grand Island stages. She started at 5 years old playing the role of Gretel in the a GILT production of The Sound of Music and currently has a leading role in the GISH production of Into The Woods. To date, she has been in almost 40 shows and helped back stage as well. She is a member of the varsity show choir at GISH and sings in her church’s choir.

Tickets for the 2015 Moonshell Awards Banquet may be purchased for $35 each by sending your contact information and a check or money order to Moonshell, P.O. Box 531, Grand Island, NE 68802-0531.

Additional information may be found at or by emailing


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