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Press Release



March 31, 2006

Cowley College creative director earns Community Cornerstone Award


Recognized by CornerBank N.A. for her time and effort in making a contribution to the Arkansas City community, Cowley College creative director Denise Irwin was recently honored with the Community Cornerstone Award.

Irwin was selected for the award by the Community Cornerstone Award selection committee, which includes Karl Faidley, Donna Avery, Dolly Bonfy, Erv Knocke and Wayne Short. All are previous recipients of the Cornerstone Award.

Irwin received the award for her mural work and the work she has done with the downtown revitalization and historic preservation. 

Irwin has done four murals with a fifth in the works. She has done murals for the Cowley College track and field facility, Cowley College Underground, Chestnut Street Underpass, the Arkansas City Community Mural at Jefferson and Summit, and the Fifth Avenue Street mural that she and Cowley College instrumental music director Gary Gackstatter are in the process of working on.

Irwin is also a founding member of the Fifth Avenue Ring, a group that is focused on revitalization and preservation of the downtown area. The group recently completed a new walking tour brochure of the downtown, and are working closely with the city on the upcoming streetscape that will begin in late May. They are also responsible for the street banners.

She is a member of the American Institute of Graphic Arts; University and College Designers
Association; Arkansas City Area Chamber of Commerce; Trinity Episcopal Church in El Dorado; and Heifer International, Little Rock, Ark.

Volunteers are the cornerstones of healthy communities. They're on your corner, the people next door. They're in your corner, helping make our community stronger.

“She is very deserving of this honor,” said Cowley College board member/Community Cornerstone selection committee member Donna Avery. “She has contributed so much to the beginning of the mural projects around town, and I can only envision that these will continue to brighten up our corner of the world, which we call Ark City. I also personally appreciate the fine contributions she is making at Cowley.”