A handful of Santa Monica community leaders were honored as part of the first annual Arts Leadership Awards program on Thursday with an awards ceremony at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel.
Mayor Pro Tempore Terry O’Day and members of the Santa Monica Arts Foundation recognized the contributions of local leaders instrumental in making Santa Monica a vibrant arts community.
The honorees were:
— Wayne Blank — Creative Community Innovator
An individual or small or mid-size commercial creative business contributing to making Santa Monica’s arts and culture sector ‘cutting edge’ through experimentation, design, or cultural sustainability
— Abby Sher — Arts Patron
An individual or business leader providing extensive support for the arts in Santa Monica
— Jon Swihart — Artist in the Community/Bruria Finkel Award
An artist who has contributed significantly to Santa Monica’s arts community through activism, patronage, and/or volunteerism
Also honored was artist Bruria Finkel in recognition for her lifetime of leadership in making Santa Monica a place that values artists and the arts. The Artist in the Community award was named in her honor.
“Volunteers, philanthropists, and creative entrepreneurs are essential to Santa Monica’s extraordinary arts community,” said George Minardos, Foundation Chairperson. “These awards highlight the importance of their contributions.”
Honorees of the nonmonetary award received a signed lithograph by artist Lita Albuquerque, a widely renowned artist Santa Monica artist. Assemblymember Richard Bloom, representing the 50th Assembly District, also presented the honorees with State Certificates of Recognition expanding the reach of the award from city to state level.
The Arts Leadership Awards program was launched this past November by the Santa Monica Arts Foundation to celebrate leadership and recognize the breadth of efforts that support Santa Monica’s artistic, creative, and cultural community.
A selection committee of Santa Monica Arts Foundation board members and representatives of the local arts and business communities met in December to review nominations and make the final selections based on the award guidelines.