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Mayor Bowser Presents the 35th Annual Mayor’s Arts Awards

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser presented the 35th Annual Mayor’s Arts Awards to honor artists and organizations and celebrate the District’s arts, humanities, and creative communities. The event was produced by the DC Office of Cable Television, Film, Music and Entertainment (OCTFME) and the DC Creative Affairs Office (CAO). Hosted by DC’s own Tommy Davidson, the Mayor’s Arts Awards winners were chosen by District residents across all eight wards via online voting.

“The Mayor’s Arts Awards allow us to showcase and celebrate the diverse artistic and creative communities in Washington, DC,” said Mayor Bowser. “This year, I was proud to present the Award for Distinguished Honor to Virginia Ali. For decades, the Ali Family has been there for DC residents – not only serving up delicious half smokes, but also building our community and uplifting the culture of local DC.”

“DC has so many incredibly talented artists and creatives,” said OCTFME Director Angie M. Gates. “OCTFME is proud to produce the Mayor’s Arts Awards on behalf of Mayor Bowser. This award show gives us the opportunity to celebrate and recognize individuals and organizations that make DC the District of Creativity.”

Awards were presented in 12 diverse categories. The winners of the 35th Annual Mayor’s Arts Awards were:

Mayor’s Arts Award for Distinguished Honor: Virginia Ali, Ben’s Chili Bowl

  • 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 as a Community Arts Advocate: Ron Moten

  • 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: Rain Young

  • 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 Media Arts: Icy the Artist

  • 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. This award is open to media artists age 14 and older.

Award for Excellence in Performing Arts: DC Black Broadway

  • 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. This award is open to performing artists age 14 and older. 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 Visual Arts: Rodney Herring

  • 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. This award is open to visual artists age 14 and older.

Award for Excellence in the Creative Industries: Nelson Cruz

  • 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.

Award for Excellence in the Humanities: Joy Ford Austin

  • 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: Hendres Kelly

  • 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: Tiara Johnson

  • The Award for Excellence as a Visionary Leader 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 to the development of the creative community in the District as a whole.

Emerging Creative Award: Artbae

  • 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. Awardee may be from all arts and/or creative industries. Award is open to creatives ages 14 and up.

The Larry Neal Writer’s Award: Purify Love Poet

  • The Larry Neal Writer’s 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. This award is open to writers age 14 and older.


About The Mayor’s Arts Awards

The Mayor’s Arts Awards are the most prestigious honors conferred by the city on individual artists, arts educators, nonprofit organizations, the creative community and patrons of the arts. This year, the Office of Cable Television, Film, Music and Entertainment (OCTFME) in conjunction with the DC Creative Affairs Office, will produce the 35th Annual Mayor’s Arts Awards to close out 202Creates Month. Artists and organizations will be recognized across a dozen categories, celebrating everything from visual arts to the humanities.