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Arts Community Bids Farewell to Tony Gittens and Dorothy McSweeny

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Contact: Masresha Tadesse  (202) 724-5613

The Washington cultural community bid farewell to DC Arts Commission Executive Director Tony Gittens and former Arts Commission Chair Dorothy McSweeny at a tribute and party at Columbia Heights’ Gala Hispanic Theatre. Together, Gittens and McSweeny helped shape the District’s significant cultural growth.

What:  Tribute to outgoing DC Arts Commission Executive Director Tony Gittens and former Commission Chair Dorothy McSweeny.

When: Monday, July 21 at 6 pm

Where: Gala Hispanic Theatre, 3333 14th Street, NW, Washington, DC

The Commission is best known for its support of local artists through both direct grants and programs. Best known were the Arts Commission’s Party Animals public art program, which placed 200 artist-designed elephants and donkey sculptures throughout the city, and the Washington, DC International Film Festival. Under Gittens’ leadership and McSweeny’s Chairmanship, the Arts Commission budget grew from $2.5 million to $11.5 million.

“I have admired Tony and I want to give him the utmost respect,” said author/poet E. Ethelbert Miller. “When we look at all the cultural vitality of the District of Columbia we have to give him credit. He has placed his cultural fingerprints on the city we see today.” 

"Dorothy is passionate, energetic and creative," said Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington president, Jennifer Cover Payne. "Her commitment to the arts and artists helped to transform the community."

Remarks were made by Neil O. Albert, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development; Councilmember Marion Barry, who appointed both Gittens and McSweeny, and other representatives from Washington’s arts, government and business community. Remarks were followed by music and dancing.