NEW YORK, NY.- Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg presented the 2008 Mayor's Awards for Arts & Culture to six individuals and organizations in celebration of their outstanding contributions to New York City's cultural life. Danny Simmons, co-founder of Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation received one of the awards on behalf of the Rush Arts Gallery and Resource Center. The Mayor also presented the 2008 NYC Handel Medallion, New York City's highest award for achievement in the arts, to playwright and Bronx native Neil Simon.
The event, held at the world famous Apollo Theater, was hosted by Ugly Betty star Vanessa Williams and featured live performances by the Queens Jazz Orchestra, an American Sign Language poet and his students, and the cast of Hair. The Mayor was also joined at the awards ceremony by First Deputy Mayor Patricia E. Harris, Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate D. Levin, Cultural Advisory Commission Chair Agnes Gund, Apollo Theater Foundation President Jonelle Procope, actor Matthew Broderick, and Statler & Waldorf of the Muppets.
The Mayor's Awards for Arts and Culture were created in 1974 by the Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission to honor individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the cultural life of New York City. The Awards acknowledge and celebrate the role individual artist, art educators, cultural organizations, corporations and philanthropists play in the public-private partnership that sustains our City's creative vitality and economic well-being. The Bloomberg Administration revived the awards in 2004.
2008 Mayor's Awards Recipients
Alliance of Resident Theatres / New York
For their thoughtful and inspired service to over 330 member theatre companies. ART/NY provides advocacy, technical assistance, financial services, loans, grant opportunities, and affordable office and rehearsal space, helping to make the challenging work of making theatre that much easier for artists and administrators throughout the City.
For founding the Arthur Aviles Typical Theatre and the Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance (BAAD!). Mr. Aviles was born in the Bronx and has chosen to make his artistic home there as a dancer and choreographer. He brings the excitement of contemporary dance to local, national, and international audiences.
Dr. Sharon Dunn
For over three decades of work in arts education for New York City's public school students. A tireless and inventive educator and administrator, most recently Dr. Dunn oversaw the creation of the Blueprints for Teaching and Learning in the Arts and inaugurated the annual Arts in Schools Report.
For his work as a composer and pianist, creating and performing musicals, ballet settings, film scores, chamber music, incidental music, and band repertoire. Best known as the composer of HAIR and Two Gentlemen of Verona, Mr. MacDermott has also composed and presented his other work through the New Pulse Jazz Band that he founded in 1979.
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
For its longstanding and innovative commitment to the performing arts, and museums and art conservation. The Foundation works to build, strengthen and sustain institutions and their core capacities, developing long-term collaborations with grant recipients and investing in them for an extended period of time.
Rush Arts Gallery & Corridor Gallery
For offering exhibition opportunities to underrepresented artists and artists of color, and for providing disadvantaged urban youth with exposure and access to the arts. The Galleries present the work of 40 to 50 artists each year and expose 10,000 New Yorkers to that work annually, including 1,500 public school students.