The Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville continues the tradition of hosting its annual fundraising event with this year's 41st Annual Arts Awards on May 6th, 2017. Proceeds will benefit the Cultural Council's Artist Grant program, which activates art projects and cultural events in the greater Jacksonville area. Jacksonville's premier arts and culture gala will be held at the historic Glass Factory built in 1936 by Henry Klutho, and honor seven individuals who have demonstrated the highest impact on arts and culture in the Jacksonville Community. This year is also the debut of the new community impact award. The event's presenting sponsor, Regions Bank, honorary chair, Heather Moore, and event chair Rebecca Ryan-Gonzalez, will recognize the following:
Emerging Artist: Ebony Payne-English is a writer, performer, educator, and human rights activist hailing from Jacksonville, FL. She is the first woman to establish her own chapter of the international poetry organization, Black on Black Rhyme. She has performed all over the nation and has been recognized as a double finalist at the Southern Fried Poetry Slam. Her 42 poem collection, Secrets of Ma’at, hit shelves October, 4th 2016 and is currently available on Amazon. She currently serves as the Program Director for The Performers Academy in Jacksonville.
Arts Innovator: Mark McCombs is the founder of Renaissance Jax, an organization that funded $187,500 to expand Lego League teams into all Jacksonville middle schools during the 2016 school year. This year Renaissance Jax will work with 2,000 students across 20 counties in Northeast Florida. McCombs is an inspirational component for the youth of our community.
Robert Arleigh White Advocacy: Christopher Lazzara is a visionary and champion for public art in Jacksonville. Through his generous donations and his desire to make a positive impact on the community, he has partnered with UNF students and supported the creation of sculptures for public art installation at Jacksonville Beach, Seaside Sculpture Park.
Art Educator: Dustin Harewood has served passionately as a professor of art since 2004 at Florida State College of Jacksonville, Kent Campus. He has revitalized the program by challenging his students and uncovering their vision and artistic abilities in the classroom.
Helen Lane Founders Award: Diane Brunet-Garcia is committed to elevating our creative community. Through her advocacy and partnership with Cultural Council and leading arts organizations in Jacksonville, she has championed fair compensation for artists, actors, and performers.
Business: PNC Bank has launched Arts Alive, a program which will fund projects in greater Jacksonville for three years. The program will bring multi-year grants to artists, nonprofits, and programs geared towards cultivating and growing a vibrant Jacksonville. PNC Bank's Arts Alive program is the best example of corporate philanthropy and one that other businesses and corporations should follow. Through the Jacksonville grant PNC gave out $75,000 in grants in its first year, and will be fast-tracking the grant process for year two, aiming to award $100,000 in 2018.
The Cultural Council will also announce the Community Impact Award, a new award for this year.
“Arts and culture continues to thrive and morph and permeate our city. Day after day, we see our community creatives improving our quality of life and pushing us to learn more and do more. The golden thread that runs through each of the leaders we will recognize at our 41st Arts Awards is unrelenting passion and a commitment to a better Jacksonville. “ Tony Allegretti, Executive Director of the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville
The Arts Awards Gala host committee consists of Kristi Aiello, Scott Ackerman, Martha Barrett, Molly Curry, Franklin Danley, Rebekah Davis, Dr. Mauricio Gonzalez, Irene Lazzara, Missy Peters, Marsha Oliver, Rachel Roberts, Ryan A. Schwartz, and Sonia Thomasino
Guests will arrive in downtown Jacksonville’s urban core and enter a strikingly beautiful and unexpected space that reflects art and culture in Jacksonville. In addition to the many local artists, performers, and innovators, guest will enjoy cocktails, a gourmet dinner and artistic surprises all leading up to the unveiling of the eight awardees. The Cultural Council founder, Helen Lane and Arts Advocate, Joannie Newton will host a Sponsor reception beginning at 6:00 p.m. with the arts awards presentation beginning at 7:00 p.m. Tickets and sponsorships are still available by visiting www.culturalcouncil.org/artsawards. For more information, please contact Ryan Ali, Director of Development, at email@example.com or (904) 358-3600 ext. 19.
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