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Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association Names Senior Vice President of Sales; CVB Professional Ronnie Burt Jr. Joins ICVA Team on Jan. 5 December 16, 2008

Posted by ICVA Communications in Conventions & Meetings, ICVA Business.
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INDIANAPOLIS – The Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association (ICVA) has named Ronnie Burt Jr.  as its new senior vice president of sales.  Burt Jr. had been the vice president of sales and services for the Baltimore Area Convention & Visitors Association since 2005. 

“We are incredibly fortunate to have secured a convention sales professional of Ronnie’s caliber,” said ICVA President & CEO Don Welsh.  “His broad experience in sales and services will allow the ICVA to more aggressively sell Indianapolis’ changing convention product, while his strong leadership and management skills will motivate and drive our sales team to produce metric-driven results.”

With nearly 20 years in the hospitality and tourism industry, Burt Jr. began his career as a marketing executive at Caesars Hotel and Casino.  He joined the Baltimore Area Convention & Visitors Association in 1999 as director of national accounts, eventually leading its sales efforts in the role as vice president of convention sales and services, the position which he vacates.  In 2006, Burt Jr. served as the interim president and CEO, where he managed a staff of more than 50 employees and a $9 million budget. 

Burt Jr. is an active member of several professional industry associations, including the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners (NCBMP) and Meeting Professionals International (MPI). 

The mission of the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association is to advance Indianapolis tourism and economic growth.  The ICVA seeks to increase the number of visitors and their financial impact, expand positive perception of Indianapolis and positively influence the visitor experience.  According to a Global Insight report, in partnership with D.K. Shifflet & Associates, 21.9 million visitors annually provide $3.56 billion in total annual economic impact of tourism on the Indianapolis economy resulting in 66,621 full-time equivalent employment positions in the hospitality industry.

Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association Announces New Board Members December 15, 2008

Posted by ICVA Communications in ICVA Business.
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INDIANAPOLIS – Following its recent annual board meeting, the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association (ICVA) has announced the election of new board members and its slate of officers for 2009.

“We are delighted to have such an exceptional group of people joining us in our commitment to making Indianapolis one of the country’s premier conventions, meetings and tourism destinations,” said ICVA Board Chair Jerry Semler.

New to the ICVA board are:

  • Tanya Bell, president and CEO, Indiana Black Expo;
  • Pete Ward, senior executive vice president, Indianapolis Colts;
  • Nick Weber, deputy mayor, City of Indianapolis.

Officers for 2009 are:

  • Chair, Jerry D. Semler, American United Mutual Insurance Holding Company;
  • First Vice Chair, Michael G. Browning, Browning Investments, Inc.;
  • Second Vice Chair, Thomas W. Jernstedt, National Collegiate Athletic Association;
  • Secretary, Ellen R. Saul, Maribeth Smith & Associates;
  • Treasurer, William G. Mays, Mays Chemical Company, Inc.;
  • President & CEO, Donald P. Welsh, ICVA.

Re-elected to the board are:

  • Gerald L. Bepko, Indiana University/IUPUI; 
  • Anton H. “Tony” George, Indianapolis Motor Speedway; 
  • William Shrewsberry, Shrewsberry Associates;
  • Fay H.  Williams, attorney;
  • Donald P. Welsh, ICVA.

New ex-officio board members are:

  • Greg Charleston, Arts Council of Indianapolis;
  • Roland Dorson, Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce;
  • Susan Williams, Indiana Sports Corporation;
  • Phil Ray, Omni Severin, Greater Indianapolis Hotel  & Lodging Association.

The mission of the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association is to advance Indianapolis tourism and economic growth.  The ICVA seeks to increase the number of visitors and their financial impact, expand positive perception of Indianapolis and positively influence the visitor experience.  According to a Global Insight report, in partnership with D.K. Shifflet & Associates, 21.9 million visitors annually provide $3.56 billion in total annual economic impact of tourism on the Indianapolis economy resulting in 66,621 full-time equivalent employment positions in the hospitality industry.

The National FFA Convention Will Return to Indianapolis December 15, 2008

Posted by ICVA Communications in Conventions & Meetings, ICVA Business.
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INDIANAPOLIS – The National FFA Organization announced today that its annual convention will be returning to Indianapolis, and the event will rotate between Louisville and Indianapolis for the foreseeable future.

Starting in 2013, the city will share hosting duties with Louisville on a three-year rotational basis. Louisville will host the convention 2013 through 2015. The convention will return to Indianapolis for the years 2016 through 2018. After a return engagement with Louisville, Indianapolis will then be given the first right of option for the years 2022-2024.

“It’s great news to learn that Indianapolis has once again been selected to host the national FFA convention,” said Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard.  “The positive impact of this event, and these outstanding young people, on our city is undeniable.  Indianapolis has much to offer FFA members, advisors and guests, from new downtown hotels to world-class sporting events, arts and entertainment.”

National FFA President Paul Moya was jubilant as well.  “The city of Indianapolis has extended its very best brand of Hoosier Hospitality to our organization and its members,” said Moya.  “This host city arrangement will allow all our future members to take part in the Indianapolis convention experience during their high school years.”

“We are elated to continue to be the host of the national FFA convention through 2012 and beyond. It’s the biggest and one of our most important city-wide conventions,” said Don Welsh, president and CEO of the Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association. “We understand and respect the decision to put Louisville in the mix. It is a great city and destination in close proximity to Indianapolis. We know it was a great host city for FFA prior to coming to
Indianapolis. We look forward to continuing working with National FFA leadership and our local partners on ways to provide an exceptional experience for these outstanding young men and women.”

The annual national FFA convention, which is currently contracted to Indianapolis through 2012, hosts more than 54,000 high school-aged FFA members from across the country.  The return of this prestigious event—the nation’s largest annual youth gathering—will bring Indianapolis estimated annual revenue exceeding $40 million.

At this morning’s announcement, FFA representatives presented Indianapolis officials with commemorative blue corduroy banners showcasing the FFA emblem and the years the city will host the annual national FFA convention. 

The National FFA Organization, formerly known as the Future Farmers of America, is a national youth organization of 507,763 student members – all preparing for leadership and careers in the science, business and technology of agriculture – as part of 7,439 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The National FFA Organization changed to its present name in 1988, in recognition of the growth and diversity of agriculture and agricultural education. The FFA mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. Visit www.ffa.org for more information.

Eiteljorg Museum Acquires Multi-Million-Dollar Art Collection December 15, 2008

Posted by ICVA Communications in Arts, Arts/Culture & Attractions, Culture & Attractions.
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Indianapolis – The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art is proud to announce the gift of the Helen Cox Kersting Collection of Southwestern Cultural Arts, a multi-million-dollar collection of nearly 800 objects, including the best of Southwestern pottery, jewelry and other objects. The collection will be the basis of a forthcoming book and an exhibition in 2010.
 
“It is difficult to overstate the significance of this collection to the field of Native American art and specifically to the Eiteljorg Museum. The Helen Cox Kersting Collection is profoundly important to both,” says John Vanausdall, president and CEO, Eiteljorg Museum. “This stunning group of objects will expand the breadth and depth of the Eiteljorg’s holdings of Southwest materials to a dramatic degree and will enrich the museum visitor’s experience for generations to come. We are grateful for Helen’s generosity, and her trust in the Eiteljorg Museum to be the steward of her life’s work and passion.”
 
Helen Cox Kersting and her collection:
 
Helen Kersting is a native of Belleville, Illinois and a graduate of the Millikin University School of Music (Decatur, Illinois) and attended the Juilliard School of Music (New York City) debuting with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Leonard Bernstein. A mezzo soprano, she went to the Cologne, Germany Opera on a four-year contract, met and married Dr. Hans Joachim Kersting and resided in Cologne until her husband’s death in 1999.
 
Kersting is a devoted collector of the best of Southwestern pottery, jewelry, weavings, baskets and other Native American objects. She began collecting as a child, on travels to the American West with her parents.  Throughout her life, she has developed knowledge and a strong sense of connoisseurship
 
The Kersting jewelry collection of over 300 items includes belts, boxes, rings, bracelets, necklaces, pins, earrings, bolo ties, hair pins and cufflinks. There are pieces older than the use of artist signatures or hallmarks whose origins are still being researched. Zuni examples by master artists Leo Poblano, Leekya, John Gordon Leak and Dan Simplicio are notable. Many of these examples came originally from the historical collection of trader C. G. Wallace. Among the great jewelers represented in the collection are Charles Loloma, Carl Clark, Vernon Haskie, Denise Wallace,  and many others. Elegant silver and turquoise examples abound and there are many high art pieces in silver and gold with opal, coral, diamonds, and other materials.
              
Kersting has been very focused in the creation of her pottery collection of nearly 400 items. A number of prehistoric coiled jars came from her parent’s acquisitions of the 1920s and 1930s, along with quite a few baskets. Historic period San Ildefonso, Santa Clara, Zuni, Zia, Santo Domingo, Cochiti and Maricopa pieces ad significantly to the Eiteljorg collection. While the Eiteljorg has a few pots by Maria Martinez of San Ildefonso, the Kersting collection includes an expansive grouping of Maria’s work in different forms and colors, several with her potter son Popovi Da. Kersting has systematically collected the work of extended families of potters and the list of major pieces reads like a blue book of Southwestern potters. Included are Sarafina, Nampeyo of Hano, Paqua Najo, Gloria Kahe, Les Namingha, Rainy Naja, Dora TsePe, Mary Cain, Margaret Tafoya, Tammy Garcia, Autumn Borts, Daisy Hooey Nampeyo, Steve Lucas, Sharon Naranjo Garcia, Joy Navasie, Jacob Koopee, Helen Cordero, Virgil and Inez Ortiz, Desideria, Tonita Roybal, Susan Folwell, Grace Medicine Flower, Nathan Youngblood, Nancy Youngblood, Roxanne Swentzell, Rondina Huma, Tony Da, Jody Naranjo, Carmelita and Carlos Dunlap and many others.
              
Kersting, who currently lives in Arizona, says, “I have pursued my search for the final custodianship of my cherished Native American collection for a couple of years. The objects always meant very much to my late husband and me. I’d like to tell you of the extraordinary generosity of my German engineer, in whose memory I gift this collection, of his willingness to fly to the US almost every vacation, of spending large sums of money for the acquisition of things originally outside his European and even technical sphere. It is no wonder this intimacy of collecting-devotion earns a special future where it can demonstrate it character and content and be a learning tool of Native Art history for years to come. Simply, I felt and feel all of my hopes could be fulfilled by the Eiteljorg with its vigorous ‘young museum’ mentality.”
 
The acquisition of the Kersting collection represents a watershed moment as the Eiteljorg Museum celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2009 and looks toward the future.
 
Says James Nottage, Eiteljorg Museum vice president and chief curatorial officer, “What makes the Kersting collection so valuable and unique is “that it demonstrates both tradition and innovation in Southwestern native arts by providing important examples from multiple generations of individual families of artists. Through their magnificent work we gain better understanding of how their tribal cultures have survived and thrived.”
 
President John Vanausdall adds, “With acquisition of the Kersting Collection, the museum will devote more energy to collecting and interpreting traditional contemporary arts of Native North America. Through artist in residence programs and our annual Indian Market and Festival, we are bringing living traditions to the museum. As a result of Helen Kersting’s generosity, we can present objects that bear testimony to on-going and developing traditions.”
 
The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art seeks to inspire an appreciation and understanding of the art, history and cultures of the American West and the indigenous peoples of North America. The museum, which opened in 1989, is located in Downtown Indianapolis’ White River State Park. For general information about the museum and to learn more about exhibits and events, call (317) 636-WEST (9378) or visit www.eiteljorg.org.