Wilfred HelwigThe Wilfred E. Helwig Distinguished Artist Endowment was established in 1987 by Florence Lattimer Helwig in memory of her late husband.

Helwig Distinguished Artists have included Itzhak Perlman, Richard Stoltzman, Hal Holbrook, Andre Watts, Brian Bedford, Dave Brubeck, Cleo Laine and John Dankworth, Doc Severinsen, Chita Rivera, Billy Taylor, Peter Nero, Rosemary Clooney, Olivia Newton-John, Roger Williams, Amy Grant, Marvin Hamlisch, and Bernadette Peters (pictured below with Florence L. Helwig and a group of music and theater students in May 2012). In March 2013, the Helwig Endowment also provided support the appearance of opera star Renée Fleming.

On September 16, 2014, previous Helwig Distinguished Artist Doc Severisen returned to help the Lively Arts kick off its 25th anniversary season and celebrate the long history of the Helwig Distinguished Artist program.

The 2017-18 Wilfred E. Helwig Distinguished Artist will be legendary performer of stage, film, and television, Ben Vereen. He will perform a one-of-a-kind performance on May 3, 2018. During that time, we will also celebrate the life of Florence L. Helwig.

Wilfred E. Helwig (pictured above), Indiana businessman and philanthropist, founded the Helwig Insurance Agency in Indiana in 1928. During his long and successful career, Mr. Helwig energetically participated in area civic, safety, and charitable organizations, actively supporting the Community Chest (now the United Way), the Indiana County YMCA, the Shrine Crippled Children's Hospital and Burn Institutes, the Children's Home for the Blind in Pittsburgh, and the Penn's Woods Council of the Boy Scouts of America. He was a charter member of the IUP President's Council.

Bernadette Peters with Florence Helwig and studentsFlorence Lattimer Helwig, a native of Punxsutawney, Pa., carried on her late husband's philanthropic work in the Indiana community and in her winter home in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where she was a member of the Fort Lauderdale Opera Society, the Florida Symphony Association, and the Broward Friends of the Miami Ballet. In Indiana, Mrs. Helwig actively supported the university as a charter and continuing member of the President's Council and as a major benefactor through the endowment that supports the Helwig Artist program.

She was an engaged and energetic supporter of the Indiana Symphony Series, the YMCA, the Indiana Arts Council, Four Footed Friends, Indiana County Humane Society, and many other Indiana County charitable organizations. She was a recipient of the Distinguished Patron of the Performing Arts Award from the Indiana Symphony Society for “long-term, consistent active support to the furtherance of the performing arts in Indiana.” In 2000, she was awarded the President's Medal of Distinction, IUP's highest non-degree honor. She passed away in October 2015.

Helwig Artists Gallery

Wilfred E. Helwig Distinguished Artist Performances

  • Itzhak Perlman, December 12, 1988
  • Richard Stoltzman, October 19, 1989
  • Hal Holbrook, April 16, 1991
  • Andre Watts, April 2, 1992
  • Brian Bedford, February 23, 1993
  • Dave Brubeck. March 22, 1994
  • Cleo Laine and John Dankworth, October 26, 1994
  • Doc Severinsen, October 31, 1995
  • Chita Rivera, November 13, 1996
  • Billy Taylor, February 25, 1998
  • Peter Nero, October 13, 1998
  • Rosemary Clooney, October 17, 2000
  • Olivia Newton-John, October 26, 2003
  • Roger Williams, October 10, 2004
  • Amy Grant, April 8, 2006
  • Marvin Hamlisch, October 5, 2009
  • Bernadette Peters, May 4, 2012
  • Doc Severinsen (reprise), September 16, 2014
  • And support for Renée Fleming, March 2, 2013