Founded in 1981 as the Historic Preservation Alliance of Arkansas, Preserve Arkansas is the only statewide nonprofit organization focused on building stronger communities by reconnecting Arkansans to our heritage and empowering people to save and rehabilitate historic places. By presenting educational programs, advocating for preservation at the federal, state, and local levels, and providing technical assistance to owners of historic properties, Preserve Arkansas has been a statewide voice for preservation in Arkansas for more than 35 years. Preserve Arkansas presents the Arkansas Preservation Awards annually to recognize preservationists and projects throughout Arkansas.
Held on January 27th at the Albert Pike Memorial Temple in Little Rock, the 2016 Arkansas Preservation Awards will honor outstanding achievements in historic preservation in ten categories. The presentation of the Parker Westbrook Award for Lifetime Achievement is the highlight of each Awards program. Named in honor of Preserve Arkansas’s founding president, the Parker Westbrook Award recognizes significant achievements in historic preservation over a period of years or decades. The award may be presented to individuals, organizations, businesses, or public agencies whose activities may be of local, statewide, or national importance. This year’s Westbrook Award winner is Cheryl Griffith Nichols of Little Rock.
Cheryl Griffith Nichols’s name is synonymous with preservation in central Arkansas and beyond. Cheri has played a significant role in historic preservation at the local, state, and national levels for the last forty years. From her commitment to the Quapaw Quarter Association to her service with the Historic Preservation Alliance of Arkansas, as well as her roles with Preservation Action and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Cheri has been an advocate, a practitioner, a fundraiser, a political ally, a mentor, and a force in the evolving discipline of historic preservation in the United States.
Cheri’s resume is full and diverse. Its highlights include serving as program assistant for the National Register of Historic Places, two extended stints as executive director of the Quapaw Quarter Association as well as long service on its board of directors, and the distinction of being one of the founding board members of the Historic Preservation Alliance of Arkansas. She was co-author, with F. Hampton Roy and Charles Witsell, of How We Lived: Little Rock as an American City (1984), as well as the author of scholarly articles, National Register nominations, and guidebooks. Cheri was involved in successful campaigns to save such notable structures as the Kramer School, West Side Junior High School, and Curran Hall, among others. She has been honored by the Quapaw Quarter Association with both its Jimmy Strawn Award and the Tom Wilkes Award for outstand board service; the Association’s historic building marker program was renamed in her honor in 2016.
–Rachel Silva Patton, Executive Director of Preserve Arkansas