George M. Irwin

2008 Honoree - Selina Roberts Ottum Award for Arts Leadership


In 1947, Irwin founded the nation's first arts council, the Quincy Society of Fine Arts, setting a national example of local organizing. In 1960, he helped found and then lead the Community Arts Councils, Inc. and subsequently the Illinois Arts Council in 1963. Former chair of the American Council for the Arts and one of the founding members of the Business Committee for the Arts, Irwin has pursued his vision with tireless joy, remaining integrally involved in cultural life nationally and locally.