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Mayor's Arts Awards Gala to Showcase DC's Outstanding Talent

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty will preside over his second Mayor's Arts Awards, the highest honor conferred by the District of Columbia in recognition of artistic excellence and service among artists, organizations, and patrons in the District.  The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities will present the 23rd Annual Mayor's Arts Awards on Monday, March 17, 2008 at 6 pm at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. 

The program will feature legendary actor Robert Prosky, 200 members of Washington's most outstanding choirs and the great divas of Doo-Wop, The Jewels. NBC4's Jim Vance will be the evening's Master of Ceremonies

An unprecedented number of nominations were received this year! The evening will feature awards presentations in the following areas:  Excellence in an Artistic Discipline, Outstanding Contribution to Arts Education, Outstanding Emerging Artist, Excellence in Service to the Arts, and Innovation in the Arts. The Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Arts Teacher will be presented as well. The program also brings awareness to the presence and vitality of the arts community in the city through on-stage performances by some of the finest talent in DC. Each year more than 1,200 dignitaries, arts enthusiasts, and the general public pack the theatre.

Since 1968, the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities has supported community development through the arts by promoting artistic excellence in the nation's capital. Since its inception in 1981, the Mayor's Arts Awards has honored some of the most outstanding artists and art patrons in our area. Past recipients of the Mayor's Art Award include Leonard Slatkin, Roberta Flack, Shirley Horn and Peggy Cooper Cafritz.

Tony Gittens, Executive Director of the DC Commission on the Arts says, "Washington's artistic talent rivals that of any major world-class city. The Mayor's Arts Award is our way of acknowledging the amazing contributions made to Washington's cultural vitality."

Artists from throughout the city apply for the honor. Finalists were chosen by the 23rd Mayor's Arts Awards Advisory Jury. In the tradition of the Academy Awards, the winners will be announced for the first time during the ceremony. 

The 23rd Annual Mayor's Arts Awards is a Millennium Stage presentation. The Millennium Stage was created and underwritten by James A. Johnson and Maxine Isaacs to make the performing arts accessible to everyone in the fulfillment of the Kennedy Center's mission to its community and the nation. The evening is free and open to the public. No tickets are necessary for the award ceremony. RSVP to (202) 724-5613. For media requests, please contact Joia Jefferson Nuri at (240) 603-7905 or [email protected]. 

Finalists for the 23rd Annual Mayor's Arts Awards are:

Excellence in an Artistic Discipline
Dr. Ysaye Barnwell
Cathedral Choral Society
CityDance Ensemble
The Studio Theatre
Theatre J Washington DC Jewish Community Center
Septime Webre

Outstanding Emerging Artist
Catalyst Theater Company
Farafina Kan
Jonathan French
Step Afrika!
Straight, No Chaser Productions

Excellence in Service to the Arts
Cultural Development Corporation
DC Public Library
Judith Korey
Doris Thomas
Thad Wilson

Outstanding Contribution to Arts Education
Charles Augins
The Choral Arts Society of Washington
Community Help in Music Education
Dr. Ashfaq Ishaq
Washington National Opera

Innovation in the Arts
Catalyst Theater Company
DC Shorts Film Festival
Paul Gordon Emerson
Washington National Opera
Washington Project for the Arts
C. Brian Williams