Governor's Arts Award
Cowley College instrumental music director Gary Gackstatter will receive the 2006 Kansas Governor’s Arts Award as an Individual Artist June 15 in Topeka. The award is Kansas’ highest achievement in the arts and is presented annually by the Kansas Arts Commission. Gackstatter will receive the award from Gov. Kathleen Sibelius. Gackstatter is being recognized for his work as a “Multi-disciplinary Artist”, whose work as a composer, conductor, performer, pen-and-ink artist, educator and arts supporter have gained state and national attention.
In addition to composing five symphonies that combine various art forms, Gackstatter’s works for band, orchestra and choir are published and distributed worldwide. His works have been featured at many of the largest music festivals in the United States, including the Mid-West Music Festival in Chicago. He has also arranged music for guest artists’ symphonic debuts including: John McCutcheon, John Gorka, Barbara Higbie, Paul Winter, Tom Chapin, Kansas and Three Dog Night.
As a conductor, Gackstatter has been responsible for the premieres of film music by Elmer Bernstein (“To Kill A Mockingbird” and “Great Escape”) and works by Eugene Freisen (“Grasslands” and “Carl Sandburg’s ‘Prairie’”) Gackstatter’s creative programming with the Winfield Regional Symphony resulted in the WRS’s 2001 Governor’s Arts Award.
Gackstatter is an active performer on guitar, bass, mandolin, flugelhorn and trombone. He is a member of “The Five Man Trio” who tour, record and perform original music. Other members of the group are Cowley College instructors Dave Bostwick and Chris Mayer. Also a pen-and-ink artist, Gackstatter’s drawings of the stone arch bridges of Cowley County led to the highly successful Stone Arch Bridge Tours, one of the most successful touring programs in the state. Gackstatter leads the spring and fall tours, which are fundraisers for the Denton Art Center in Arkansas City.
Gackstatter has taught in Arkansas City since 1990 and presently directs the band and jazz band at Cowley College. He holds degrees from Southwestern, Oklahoma State University and Wichita State University. For more information about Gary Gackstatter, go to garygackstatter.com.