Walter S. Blackburn Award (Formerly the Don E. Gibson Award)
By unanimous approval at the May 2000 meeting of the AIA Indiana Board, the Don E. Gibson Award was retired and reborn as the Walter S. Blackburn Award. Awarded annually by AIA Indiana, the Walter S. Blackburn Award is named in recognition and honor of Walter S. Blackburn, FAIA.
The son of Dr. Cleo W. Blackburn, director of the Flanner House from 1936 to 1975 and a prominent community leader in Indianapolis, Blackburn returned home in 1963 with an architectural degree from Howard University. He chose to return to Indianapolis where prospects for young black architects, even those with well-known fathers, were less than auspicious. It was a courageous but judicious decision, and a decision based on the kind of commitment that had been an underlying theme of Blackburn's life. Elected to the College of Fellows in the 1980's, Blackburn understood that this honor and its purpose were best served if considered a stepping stone. His election to the College of Fellows was followed by his selection to chair AIA's Diversity Taskforce in 1992, and shortly thereafter, his election as its Vice President, followed by a near miss to be named its President. Blackburn had served in most of the leadership chairs of AIA Indiana, and continued until his untimely death to provide insight and wisdom to the membership through the AIA Indiana Fellows Committee. His career also included many terms of service on the Indiana Arts Commission and the boards of numerous local arts organizations and nonprofit institutions.
The Walter S. Blackburn Award is bestowed upon a non-architect public member or organization that has contributed their time and person in service to or support of the architectural profession in Indiana, or an architect and member of AIA Indiana who has exemplified professional and public service as Blackburn did. Any non-architect public member or organization or AIA member in good standing with the association and profession, community and professional service, and support of the architectural are eligible for consideration. Their commitment to the profession, community and professional service, and support of the architectural profession in Indiana must be self-evident.
The submitter should submit information for review and consideration by the AIA Indiana Awards Jury. The electronic submission may take any form the submitter chooses but should include at least a resume and personal vita. The submission should address the reasons why the submitter best represents the qualities espoused by the award. The Awards Jury will review all submissions and select a winner. The AIA Indiana Board will approve the decision. The recipient and their spouse or significant other or appropriate representative(s) of the organization are guests of AIA Indiana at the awards' reception and presentation.