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Mayor Bowser Presents the 36th Annual Mayor’s Arts Awards, Celebrating Washington, DC’s Artistic and Creative Communities

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser, the Office of Cable Television, Film Music and Entertainment (OCTFME) and the Creative Affairs Office (CAO) hosted the 36th Annual Mayor’s Arts Awards at the Historic Howard Theatre.

“On the heels of an incredible Art All Night weekend, I am so proud to once again recognize the artists and makers who keep DC the capital of creativity,” said Mayor Bowser. “DC is open, and Washingtonians across all eight wards are eager to support our creative communities and enjoy the sights and sounds of DC culture.”

DC residents from across all eight wards selected the Mayor's Arts Awards winners via online voting that allowed Washingtonians to vote for their most inspiring creative. This year’s awards show was hosted by DC On-Air Veteran and Radio Host, Comedian, Entertainer, Actor, and Philanthropist - Joe Clair.

“Through the Mayor’s Arts Awards, Mayor Bowser and the residents of our city highlight and salute those that make DC the “District of Creativity,” said Angie M. Gates, Director, DC Office of Cable Television, Film, Music, and Entertainment. “Our dynamic, diverse and inclusive cultural community is second to none. OCTFME and CAO are proud to produce the Mayor’s Arts Awards, each year, on behalf of Mayor Bowser and the District.”

The Mayor’s Arts Awards acknowledges, celebrates, and showcases the District's creative and artistic communities with stellar performances and shout-outs from local and national celebrities.

This year’s presenter line-up included:

  • Mayor Bowser
  • John Falcicchio, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development
  • Deborah Rutter, President, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
  • Reggie Van Lee – DCCAH Chairperson, Kennedy Center Trustee
  • Eboné F. Bell – Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Tagg Magazine
  • Elise Perry, President, Recording Academy, Washington, DC Chapter
  • Carolina Furukrona – Owner of Nova Bossa Lifestyle Boutique
  • Keyonna Jones – Executive Director, Congress Heights Art & Culture Center
  • Kelli Taylor – Co-Founder Free Minds Book Club & Writing Shop
  • Caroline Phillips – Founder National Cannabis Festival
  • Garry Williams Jr. & Tamon George, Co-Founders, Creative Theory Agency
  • Daniella Senior  – Celebrated Chef (Colada Shop, Bresca, Serenata and Zumo)
  • Maz Paz – Multidisciplinary Artist
  • Matthew Crittenden – Dancer, Choreographer
  • Myles Campbell aka MiniShotta – Photographer

 This year’s celebration featured live performances and appearances by a stellar line-up of performers, including:

  • Joe Clair (Host)
  • Patricia De Lima (Co-host)
  • Al Reynolds (Red Carpet Host)
  • Junkyard Band
  • Wicked Sycamore
  • Michelle Kim
  • DJ Cyd
  • Be Steadwell
  • Batala
  • See-I Reggae Band
  • Belly Dancers
  • Joe Jackson & Friends Hand Dancers
  • Mia Duvall
  • Benjamin Gates
  • The MusicianShip Washington Youth Choir
  • Demont Pinder

 Awards were presented in 14 diverse categories. The winners of the 36th Annual Mayor’s Arts Awards are:

Mayor’s Arts Award for Distinguished Honor: Sam Gilliam, Renowned Artist   
The Mayor’s Arts Award for Distinguished Honor is a merit award selected by Mayor Bowser and 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: Shaolin Jazz
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 ages 14 and older.
 
Award for Excellence in Visual Arts: Coobaya LLC
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 ages 14 and older.
 
Award for Excellence in the Creative Industries: Dior Ashley Brown
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: Kiarra Patterson
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 and the award is open to creatives ages 14 and up.
 
Award for Excellence as a Community Arts Advocate: Luther Wright
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: Southeast Tennis and Learning Center
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: Anthony Oakes
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. This award is open to performing artists ages 14 and older.
 
Award for Excellence in the Humanities: Osman Alexis Milla
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: Mitch Mathis
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: Rev. Dr. Sandra Butler-Truesdale
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 Writer’s Award: Jade Foster
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. This award is open to writers ages 14 and older.
 
Award for Excellence in Youth Creativity: Fly Zyah
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. This award is open to youth creatives ages 14 and younger.  
 
Award for Excellence in Fashion and Beauty Industries: The Museum
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. This award is open to fashion and beauty Creatives ages 16 and older.