Hecky’s Barbecue has been chosen as the 2011 recipient of the Evanston Arts & Business Committee Leadership Award. The annual award acknowledges Evanston businesses and organizations that have provided leadership in arts and cultural support, either financially or through in-kind services, or both. The award will be presented at the Mayor’s State of the City Address and Award for the Arts Luncheon on Friday, March 2, 2012.

The Arts & Business Committee, a subcommittee of the Evanston Arts Council, encourages businesses of all sizes to support the arts in whatever way they can. “We are excited to have several strong nominations and are proud to be recognizing Hecky’s Barbecue this year,” said Lara Allison, co-chair of the Arts & Business Committee. Hecky’s has provided support to several Evanston arts-related events and organizations, including Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre, The Actors Gymnasium, Evanston Township High School Jazz Band, and Youth and Senior Theatre Ensemble Project (YSTEP).

Tim Rhoze, artistic director of Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre and member of the Arts & Business Committee, has witnessed first-hand the many generous meals that Hecky’s has provided for student-related arts events. Hecky Powell, owner of Hecky’s Barbecue, was honored to be receiving the award, and said that the reason that he supports the arts in Evanston is “because they don’t always get the funding they need” and “it is just the right thing to do.”

Previous recipients of the award include Whole Foods Market, First Bank & Trust, Romano Bros. and Co., and Jim Nash of Farnsworth-Hill, Inc. The award itself is being crafted by Evanston metalsmith and jewelry artist Nancy Sickbert-Wheeler, who also provided the design for last year’s award.

The Arts & Business Committee created the Leadership Award five years ago. It reinforces the committee’s primary mission of bringing together local business leaders and arts organizations into a mutually enhancing relationship. This award recognizes the business leaders for their support of the arts, but as most business leaders know, a community with a thriving cultural scene is good business. The committee is currently co-chaired by Paul Giddings and Lara Allison.

The Annual State of the City Address and Mayor’s Award for the Arts Luncheon is sponsored by the Evanston Chamber of Commerce and NorthShore University HealthSystem. The luncheon will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Friday, March 2 at the Hilton Orrington Evanston, 1710 Orrington Ave.

The cost to attend the luncheon is $30 for Evanston Chamber of Commerce members and $50 for non-members. Registrations MUST be in no later than Friday, February 24. Non-Chamber members must register by phone with credit card: 847/328-1500 x22 (lunch or admittance for walk-ins is not guaranteed.) If you need a vegan/vegetarian meal, please indicate meal choice at registration as changes may not be made at the event. Chamber members can register online at www.evchamber.com.