Peoria, Ill. (WMBD) — The program director for Peoria non-profit Artists Re-Envisioning Tomorrow, better known as ART Inc., has been named employee of the year for her dedication to inspiring and empowering the community through arts, education, and culture.

Program director, Joy Holmquist started her journey with ART Inc. nearly a year and a half ago. She was brought on board by co-founder Jonathon Romain, who she has known for several years. Holmquist said she has worn many hats since her start, taking on each role with pride.

ART Inc.’s programming offers arts, education, and culture to all members of the community no matter their ability to pay.

“My love for the kids has grown tremendously, especially the youth in our youth leadership training program,” Holmquist said.

She said ART Inc. was not something that was available while she and others were growing up.

“To be able to give this opportunity to the community with such great mentors such as Nikki Romain and Jonathon Romain, bringing the arts to life is a wonderful thing. So it’s very purpose driven for me more than anything,” she said.

Holmquist has been named ART Inc.’s employee of the year, becoming the first person to receive the distinction.

It’s just that extra push to see that what I am doing, is not only inspiring the youth but my team, my bosses. [And] that what we’re doing every single day actually impacts parents and that is very uplifting to me to help with my spirits to continue to do what I do, and love to do.

Joy Holmquist

ART Inc. executive director and co-founder, Nikki Romain said Holmquist is a beacon of inspiration and strength, not only for the children but also for their parents.

“If you’re looking for a place where you know your kid is in safe, good hands, has a motherly figure protecting them, then that is Joy,” Romain said. “Joy pours into these kids. If the staff is behind on different curriculum, she’ll create the curriculum herself. She goes above and beyond, she cares.”

ART Inc. offers programs for children of many ages. To learn more, please visit their website.