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Mayor Bowser Celebrates and Honors DC's Creative Community at the 38th Annual Mayor's Arts Awards

Thursday, September 28, 2023

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser presented the 38th Annual Mayor’s Arts Awards to honor artists and organizations and celebrate the District’s arts, humanities, and creative communities. The event took place at Lincoln Theatre and was produced by the Office of Cable Television, Film, Music, and Entertainment (OCTFME) and the Creative Affairs Office (CAO). The theme of this year’s awards is “Born Bold.”

“Every year, the Mayor’s Arts Awards allows us to celebrate and shine a spotlight on the artists and creatives who keep DC vibrant,” said Mayor Bowser. “The Arts Awards, Theatre Week, Art All Night and Dine All Night – these are all fantastic opportunities to show our gratitude for creatives and makers in DC. Now, as we wrap up another successful 202Creates Month, let’s continue to uplift and support our vibrant creative community.”

The Mayor’s Arts Awards is the most prestigious honor the city can bestow upon the arts, humanities, and creative community. District residents across all eight wards nominated, voted, and selected the winners in 13 of the 14 categories via online voting.

“Tonight's 'Born Bold' 38th Annual Mayor's Arts Awards was a true testament to the unparalleled talent that calls Washington, DC home,” said the Director of the Office of Cable Television, Film, Music, and Entertainment LaToya Foster. “From the opening act to the final curtain call, our city’s gifted artists unequivocally showcased that when it comes to talent, our city stands second to none.”
 
The Mayor’s Arts Awards celebrates, showcases, and amplifies the power of community, connection, and resilience in all eight wards of the District, honoring local creative leaders, visionaries, and trendsetters.
 
The presenter line-up included:

  • Chris Pyrate, Artist  
  • Ashley Jeye Williams, Artist
  • Nicole Gallub, Owner Pelonkey
  • Jamie and Erana Tyler, Love and Marriage DC  
  • Amanda McClements, Founder and Creative Director of Salt & Sundry, Little Leaf and The Sun Room
  • Rebecca Lemos Otero, Executive Director, HumanitiesDC
  • Alexa Alice Joubin, English Department Professor and Co-Director of Digital Humanities Institute, George Washington University  
  • Janice Rankin, Costume Designer
  • Evan Ibrahim, Owner/Operator/Designer, StitchesDC  
  • Cora Masters Barry, Founder and CEO, Recreation Wishlist Committee  
  • Carla Sanchez, Co-Owner, Casa Kantuta
  • Mia Davis, Founder, Color Vision  
  • Chuck and Bree West, OCTET Productions
  • LeGreg Harrison, Founder, Future Moguls, Inc.  
  • Ian Callender, Co-Owner Suite Nation, Sandlot Southeast
  • Wayne Johnson and Tony Perry, WT Nightlife, owners of Saint Yves and Abigail Nightclubs
  • Betsy Purves, Musician and External Affairs Director, DC Orchestra  
  • Portia Richardson, CEO/Founder, Tumaini DC, Inc.
  • Kai Milla, Fashion Designer
  • George Worrell, Founder George Worrell Style, LLC
  • Tarek “Terk” Stevens, CEO, TERK Entertainment Group

This year’s exceptional live performances and appearances included:

  • Wisdom Martin (WUSA-9), Host
  • Simone De Alba (WUSA-9), Co-Host
  • Justin Stewart  
  • Cecily Hernandez  
  • DJ Chris Styles  
  • EZ Street
  • Fairouz Foty  
  • Backyard Band
  • DC Black Broadway  
  • Princess Mhoon Dance Institute (PMDI)
  • Pete Stahl and Enoch Thompson, band members of Scream  
  • Sarah-Mari
  • Karla Styles

The winners of the 38th Annual Mayor’s Arts Awards are as follows:
 
Mayor’s Arts Award for Distinguished Honor: Jan Du Plain

The Mayor’s Arts Award for Distinguished Honor is a merit award given to an individual, group, nonprofit organization, or private entity whose contributions to Arts and Culture in the District of Columbia have been substantial and consistent, with achievements spanning 20 years or more with local, regional, and national impact.
 
Award for Excellence in Media Arts: The Media Prince
The Award for Excellence in Media Arts honors an individual, group, nonprofit organization, or private entity that has made significant contributions in Media Arts in the District of Columbia, through the direct practice and/or production of their artistic work. Media Arts disciplines honored may include, but are not limited to film, television, radio, podcasting, content creation, augmented reality/virtual reality production, game design, and other creative tech.
 
Award for Excellence in Visual Arts: Mario Sessions
The Award for Excellence in Visual Arts honors an individual, group, nonprofit organization, or private entity that has made significant contributions in Visual Arts in the District of Columbia, through the direct practice of their artistic work. Visual Arts disciplines honored may include, but are not limited to ceramics, drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, design, photography, and crafts.
 
Award for Excellence in the Creative Industries: Artechouse
The Award for Excellence in the Creative Industries honors an individual, creative business, nonprofit organization, or group that has made a significant contribution in the creative industries in the District of Columbia, through the direct production of their creative work, and through their leadership in developing the creative economy. Creative industry work and disciplines may include but are not limited to design arts, graphic designers, museums, lighting designers, sound engineers, fashion, costume designers, crafters, jewelry designers, makers, food trucks, farmers markets, cosmetology industry, stylists, curators, festival organizers, and exhibitors.
 
Emerging Creative Award: Caressa Jennings
The Emerging Creative Award honors an individual, group, non-profit organization, or private entity that, while out of the spotlight, has made a significant contribution to the creative culture of the District of Columbia. The awardee may be from all arts and/or creative industries.
 
Award for Excellence as a Community Arts Advocate: Herb Scott
The Award for Excellence as a Community Arts Advocate honors an individual, group, nonprofit organization, or private entity that has made significant contributions as a community advocate for the arts or creative culture in the District of Columbia.
 
Award for Excellence in Arts Education: Brian Bailey
The Award for Excellence in Arts Education honors an individual, group, nonprofit organization, or private entity that has made significant contributions in Arts Education in the District of Columbia by supporting the development of imagination and creativity in young people and demonstrating the value of the arts as essential to education. Honorees may include but are not limited to teachers in DC Public Schools, public charter schools, and independent arts education programs or practitioners.
 
Award for Excellence in Performing Arts: Step Afrika!
The Award for Excellence in Performing Arts honors an individual, group, nonprofit organization, or private entity that has made significant contributions in the Performing Arts in the District of Columbia, through the direct practice and/or performance of their artistic work. Performing Arts disciplines honored may include but are not limited to: All dance disciplines and styles, including, but not limited to jazz, tap, ballet, modern, hip-hop, folk, and ballroom. Theatre practitioners, including, but not limited to actors and directors. Music community and organizations, including, but not limited to composers, singers, instrumentalists, bands, orchestras, small and large ensembles, and choruses.
 
Award for Excellence in the Humanities: KRoussaw Foundation  
The Award for Excellence in the Humanities honors an individual, group, nonprofit organization, or private entity that has made significant contributions in the humanities in the District of Columbia through the direct practice and/or production of their work. Humanities disciplines may include but are not limited to literature, history, language, philosophy, anthropology, archeology, musicality, religion, and social science.
 
Award for Excellence in the Nightlife Economy: Shawn Townsend
The Award for Excellence in the Nightlife Economy honors an individual, group, nonprofit organization, or private entity that has made a significant contribution to the nightlife economy of the District of Columbia through the direct production of events, activities, and establishments in the nightlife industry. The nightlife industry can include but is not limited to bars, clubs, entertainment venues, and nightlife promoters.
 
Award for Visionary Leadership: John "Crazylegz" Pearson
The Award for Visionary Leadership in the Arts and Creative Industries honors one individual, group, organization, or private entity with distinguished achievements as a leader in the Arts and Creative Industries. The awardee should have demonstrated an equal commitment to their vision, mission, product, or service, and the development of the creative community in the District as a whole.
 
The Larry Neal Writers’ Award: Marjuan Canady
The Larry Neal Writers Award commemorates the artistic legacy of author and activist Larry Neal and honors an individual that has made a significant contribution in the District of Columbia through the direct practice or production of their work as a writer. Written forms can include, but are not limited to short stories, dramatic writing, playwriting, nonfiction, and poetry.
 
Award for Excellence in Youth Creativity: Gabby Loftin
The Award for Excellence in Youth Creativity honors any youth individual or group performing artist, entrepreneur, or business including but not limited to dance, music, writing, advocacy, and media. The youth must be at the helm and/or focus of the organization or movement that has/is creating and contributing to the District’s creative community.
 
Award for Excellence in Fashion and Beauty Industries: Vernon Martin
The Award for Excellence in Fashion and Beauty Industries honors a business, an individual, a non-profit or for-profit entity, or a collective group of Creatives that has made a significant contribution to the fashion and beauty communities in the District. This award category includes, but is not limited to: DC-based fashion and beauty retailers, and designers; fashion event producers with a portfolio demonstrating engagement of the fashion community and promoting DC as a fashion destination; technical curriculum-based sewing and fashion instructors; professional makeup artists and licensed beauty culture professionals, such as cosmetologists, barbers, tattoo artists, and salon owners, with a portfolio or body of work that exhibits significant community engagement and/or distinctive work in arts and entertainment.

Social Media:

Mayor Bowser Twitter: @MayorBowser
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