Jill Warford: The 2023 Inaugural Learning Tree Award

Jill Warford. Submitted photo.

Jill Warford, Former Gordon Parks Museum Executive Director, will be the recipient of the “Gordon Parks Learning Tree Award” at the annual celebration tribute dinner on October 7th, 2023 in Fort Scott, Kansas.

The Learning Tree Award was established in May of 2023 in Parks’ honor to be given annually at the Celebration Tribute Dinner.

Named after Gordon’s semi-autobiographical novel and film of the same name, this powerful story tells of a young man growing into manhood in the 1920’s while dealing with racism, poverty, tragic events and love. The story is also of a mother who places love, dignity and hard work over hatred. She teaches him about life lessons learned and allows Cherokee Flats to be his Learning Tree.

“The Learning Tree Award” is an award created to recognize an individual that is either emerging in the field of arts with exceptional artistic merit, supporting and promoting of the arts, or championing of the arts by their outstanding dedication, perseverance, commitment to excellence in their community.

“We are very excited to have Jill as the inaugural recipient of this award,” said Kirk Sharp, Gordon Parks Museum Executive Director.

Jill Warford was hired in January of 2004 by Fort Scott Community College to assist with Alumni and Advancement and to develop a way to honor Fort Scott native Gordon Parks. She brought with her a wealth of experience with past positions in alumni, development, public relations, graphic design, and as the director of the William Inge Theatre Festival at Independence Community College. She had developed a relationship with Gordon Parks when he was honored at the Inge Festival in 1996 and with his blessing, she founded and directed the annual Gordon Parks Celebration, which launched in October of 2004, and eventually she was instrumental in starting the Gordon Parks Museum at FSCC. At the helm for fifteen years, she retired in October of 2018 and currently resides in Independence, Kansas.

This event is for everyone and open to the public.

Please reserve tickets early by Wednesday, Oct 4, 2023 for all the reserved events. The 20th Annual Gordon Parks Celebration will have a wide range of great events and activities for all to enjoy.

The Celebration kicks off on Thursday, Oct 5 with a chamber coffee at the Gordon Parks Museum and ends with The Tribute Celebration Dinner at The Liberty Theater in Fort Scott on Saturday, Oct 7, 2023.

For tickets, call 620 -223-2700 ext. 5850. or register at https://www.gordonparkscenter.org/…/celebration-tribute…

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