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PR- 383-06
October 30, 2006


Philip Seymour Hoffman, Swoosie Kurtz, Isaac Mizrahi and Paquito D'Rivera Join Mayor to Honor Outstanding Contributions to City's Cultural Life

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg tonight presented the Mayor's Awards for Arts & Culture in celebration of outstanding contributions to New York City's cultural life. The event, which was held in the Frederick P. Rose Hall at Jazz at Lincoln Center and featured a host of celebrity presenters and performances, marked the 30th anniversary of the City's Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA), which was created in 1976. Today, DCLA is the largest public benefactor of the arts in the United States, funding 639 arts and cultural organizations with almost $152 million in annual program support, while also investing $868 million in capital projects at 195 organizations over the next four years. In addition, through the agency's Materials for the Arts program, DCLA provides important resources to more than 3,000 non-profit organizations and public schools annually. Through the Percent for Art program, the agency provides the opportunity for individual artists to create public artworks that help transform civic structures. DCLA is also an advocate for the City's cultural community, providing technical assistance to individual organizations, developing promotional initiatives to boost participation in the City's cultural life, and articulating the profound impact of culture on New York City's quality of life and economic well-being.
"Tonight's honorees embody why New York City supports the arts," said Mayor Bloomberg. "These individuals and organizations educate our children, support our artists, dance our dreams, stage our aspirations, and never allow us to forget the brilliant artists who have come before us. Since 1976, the City has partnered with the cultural community through the Department of Cultural Affairs, which is today the single largest public funder of the arts in the country. Tonight we celebrate the extraordinary accomplishments made possible through this thirty-year partnership."

"New York City invests so actively in arts and culture because we understand that they are essential to the City's success," said First Deputy Mayor Patricia E. Harris. "Last year, more than half of our City's 42 million tourists came specifically to experience and enjoy our abundance of cultural attractions. Our nonprofit arts organizations alone create over $5.7 billion in economic benefits for New York City and indirectly drive billions of dollars in the commercial industries."

"This awards ceremony offers us the opportunity to showcase the artists, cultural organizations and audiences who comprise one of New York's signature industries," said DCLA Commissioner Kate D. Levin. "It also allows us to celebrate 30 years of DCLA's work to nurture and strengthen cultural organizations in every neighborhood and ensure that arts and culture are central to the City's economic vitality and quality of life. This administration is particularly grateful to Agnes Gund and the entire Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission, which, for four years, has worked as a partner to Mayor Bloomberg and the Department of Cultural Affairs."

"Thanks to Mayor Bloomberg, First Deputy Mayor Harris, and Commissioner Levin, culture is increasingly on the minds of New Yorkers. Nobody takes the arts for granted," said Agnes Gund, Chair of the Mayor's Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission. "Mayor Bloomberg has helped New Yorkers appreciate the actors, artists, dancers, musicians, and other performers and cultural organizations that make this City so great."

About the Mayor's Awards for Arts & Culture

The Mayor's Awards for Arts & Culture were created in 1976, when DCLA was founded, and were given almost annually until 1994. Mayor Bloomberg revived the awards in 2004, with the assistance of DCLA and a newly established Mayor's Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission. The Commission's 21 members are a diverse and distinguished group of advocates for the City's non-profit cultural community. This year's honorees represent the extraordinary range of cultural activity across New York City and were presented to:

  • The Public Theater - presented by actor Philip Seymour Hoffman

    For 50 years, The Public Theater has been committed to creating theater that reflects the life of New York City and gives expression to voices from across the country and around the world. Founded by Joseph Papp as the Shakespeare Workshop, The Public is today one of the nation's preeminent cultural institutions, credited with launching and nurturing the careers of the some of the most acclaimed actors, playwrights, stage directors, and set and lighting designers working in theater. The Public's most-lauded productions include A Chorus Line; That Championship Season; Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk; Caroline, or Change; Topdog/Underdog; and Take Me Out. Now under the leadership of Artistic Director Oskar Eustis and Executive Director Mara Manus, The Public is headquartered at the former Astor Library on Lafayette Street and at the Delacorte Theater, its permanent summertime home for free Shakespeare in the Park. The Public's mandate to create a theater for all New Yorkers continues to this day on stage and through extensive outreach and education programs. Each year, over 250,000 people attend Public Theater-related productions and events at six downtown stages. The City has supported the Public Theater since its inception.

  • Mark Morris - presented by designer Isaac Mizrahi

    Mark Morris is the founder and artistic director of the Mark Morris Dance Group (MMDG), a world-renowned dance company and school headquartered in downtown Brooklyn. Now celebrating its 25th year, MMDG has a canon of over 125 pieces, and the company presents an average of 90 shows each year in 35 cities worldwide. The school trains over 1,400 students annually and serves the broader dance community by providing low-cost rehearsal and performance space in its downtown Brooklyn headquarters. Morris has served as Director of Dance at the Théâtre Royal de la

    Monnaie in Brussels, the national opera house of Belgium, and later founded the White Oak Dance Project with Mikhail Baryshnikov. Routinely counted among the top contemporary choreographers in the world, he is also much in demand as a ballet choreographer. Noted for his musicality and his ability to present contradictory styles and emotions, his work is in the repertory of the San Francisco Ballet, Boston Ballet, Geneva Ballet, New Zealand Ballet, Houston Ballet, English National Ballet, and The Royal Ballet, Covent Garden. He has worked extensively in opera, directing and choreographing productions for the New York City Opera, English National Opera, and The Royal Opera, Covent Garden. The City has supported the Mark Morris Dance Group since 1999.

  • The Louis Armstrong House & Archives - presented by jazz musician Paquito D'Rivera

    In 1943, Louis Armstrong - widely recognized as a founding father of jazz - moved to a modest clapboard house in the middle-class neighborhood of Corona, Queens with his wife Lucille. He died in 1971, and she died in 1983. In 1986, in accordance with Lucille's will, the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation arranged for DCLA to assume ownership of the House, and for Queens College to operate it. On his first day of work in 1991, Michael Cogswell, now the Director of the Louis Armstrong House & Archives, was greeted by 72 shipping cartons of Armstrong's personal artifacts including 1,600 recordings, 650 reel-to-reel tapes in hand-decorated boxes, 86 scrapbooks, 5,000 photographs, 270 sets of band parts, 12 linear feet of papers, correspondence and manuscripts, five trumpets, 14 mouthpieces and 120 awards and plaques. Arranging, preserving, and cataloguing these took three years. The house was opened to the public in 2003; the interior remains much as it was in Armstrong's lifetime. It is both a New York City Landmark and a National Historic Place. The Louis Armstrong Archives, housed on the Queens College campus, serve as the foremost Armstrong research center in the world. The City has supported the Louis Armstrong House & Archives since 1986.

  • American Express - presented by actress Swoosie Kurtz

    Established in 1850 in New York, American Express Company was among the first and most successful express delivery businesses during the rapid westward expansion of the United States. Today American Express has evolved into one of the world's leading credit card companies as well as one of the country's most generous and visionary corporate supporters of the arts. That support includes both direct gifts to non-profit arts organizations and sponsorship of major arts initiatives such as "River to River," the largest free arts festival in the nation; "Cool New York," DCLA's initiative to promote cultural events during the winter months; and the National Arts Marketing Project, an innovative education initiative created by the Arts & Business Councils of New York and Chicago to assist non-profit arts organizations in expanding their audiences. In 1997, American Express created the Performing Arts Fund to assist performing arts organizations across the United States in attracting and sustaining broader audiences. Since its inception, the Fund has provided nearly $11 million in 107 grants to nearly 60 arts organizations throughout the United States.

  • Bronx Council on the Arts - presented by choreographer Arthur Aviles

    The Bronx Council on the Arts (BCA), which will celebrate its 45th year in 2007, is a leading arts service organization that works to promote the arts in the Bronx and support artists and arts organizations of all disciplines. In addition to providing direct financial support, BCA develops cutting-edge programming in arts education and works to revitalize local neighborhoods. BCA programs include the Longwood Arts Project, which works to raise the profile of artists from underrepresented groups; an Intensive Art Handlers Training Program, which trains working artists and museum personnel in caring for and transporting fine artworks and artifacts; the Bronx Writers' Center, devoted to the artistic and professional development of Bronx writers; the Cultural Venture Fund, which provides seed funding for cultural ventures that build capacity and stability for Bronx-based arts organizations; the Bronx Cultural Card, designed to connect cardholders to cultural activities in the Bronx; and the Bronx Culture Trolley, which carries riders to various cultural destinations and encourages arts participation and business development along the Bronx's lower Grand Concourse. The City has supported the Bronx Council on the Arts since 1973.

  • Brooklyn Arts Council - presented by artist Phong Bui

    The Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC), celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, is a service organization dedicated to helping artists, arts organizations, and community groups promote and sustain the arts in Brooklyn. BAC provides grants, resources, referrals, networking opportunities, seminars, and other activities that support and encourage the arts. Programs include the Printmakers' Portfolio, which supports new work and promotes a wider understanding of original printmaking; an onsite gallery, which regularly exhibits new works of local artists; and the International Film and Video Festival, which provides opportunities for film and video artists to show their work free of charge to other artists, the media and an enthusiastic New York audience. BAC regularly gives seminars on issues that range from securing funding to the effective use of new technology to finding venues and materials. Through its Arts in Education Program and working with the Department of Education, BAC matches working artists with public schools around the City. The City has supported the Brooklyn Arts Council since 1973.

  • Council on the Arts and Humanities for Staten Island - presented by Hair composer Galt MacDermot

    The Council on the Arts & Humanities for Staten Island (COAHSI), which will celebrate its 15th year in 2007, develops, fosters and promotes the arts, culture and humanities on Staten Island. COAHSI provides technical assistance to organizations and individual artists, administers a re-grant program, rewards cultural achievement through annual awards, and maintains a comprehensive calendar of cultural events in Staten Island and an artist registry. In 2006, COAHSI launched an Assistance in Marketing (AIM) program to help grant recipients assemble a marketing plan to promote events and exhibits. In addition, COASHI operates the V.I.S.I.T. Center (Vital Information for Staten Islanders and Tourists) in Whitehall Ferry Terminal, which distributes information about Staten Island cultural activities to residents and tourists. The City has supported the Council on the Arts and Humanities for Staten Island since 1992.

  • Lower Manhattan Cultural Council - presented by singer-songwriter Suzanne Vega

    The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC), which celebrates its 35th year in 2008, serves as the creative hub for connecting residents, tourists, and workers to Lower Manhattan's vibrant arts community. LMCC offers re-grant programs, artist commissions, public art walking tours, the free performance series Sitelines, and artist residencies. LMCC's flagship residency, "Workspace," provides artists and writers with studio workspace for nine months, and access to a community of artists, professional development services, as well as a modest stipend. Other ongoing residencies include the temporary Gulf Coast residency, serving 15 artists displaced by Hurricane Katrina, and the Paris residency, which, in collaboration with the French Embassy, provides selected artists with the opportunity to work in Paris for six months. LMCC has also collaborated with The Joyce in bringing "Evening Stars," a free dance series, to Battery Park. The City has supported the organization since 1973.

  • Queens Council on the Arts - presented by artist Danny Simmons

    The Queens Council on the Arts (QCA), celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, works to support, promote, and expand the arts in Queens, the City's most ethnically diverse borough. QCA provides grants to artists and arts organizations, supports artists through professional development resources, and provides arts education programming. QCA also produces exhibits celebrating the history and diversity of Queens, publishes guides and brochures related to the arts in Queens, conducts workshops, and produces videos in cooperation with QPTV public access television, which allows it to reach an audience of more than 450,000 annually. QCA's newest initiative is the Queens Artist Collectives, a gathering for local artists and art groups to share resources and bring together the many diverse arts communities of Queens. The City has supported the QCA since 1973.

  • Dr. George York, founder and principal of the Bronx High School for the Visual Arts - presented by artist Chuck Close and Dorothy Lichtenstein, President of the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation

    Dr. George York is co-founder and principal of the Bronx High School of the Visual Arts (BHSVA), a dynamic public school dedicated to providing quality education in and through the arts. Emphasizing critical thinking, student engagement, and small class size, Dr. York has championed arts education and its importance to all aspects of learning. BHSVA works with cultural partners Lehman College Art Gallery, the Bronx Museum, and Wave Hill to provide learning experiences and additional resources for students and their families. The curriculum provides individualized attention and prepares students for college and visual arts careers. Prior to founding BHSVA, Dr. York was the director of education at P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center and later was assistant principal at Long Island City High School where he oversaw visual arts, music, and culinary arts. He serves on the boards of the Queens Council on the Arts and Elders Share the Arts and has received numerous awards and grants, co-authored several resource guides, and participated in many workshops, conferences and lectures on teaching, curriculum, and museum education. Dr. York contributed to the Blueprint for Teaching and Learning in the Arts, the Department of Education's comprehensive curriculum in arts education.

The awards ceremony featured a number of performances including Paquito D'Rivera, winner of 8 Grammy awards; the 52nd Street Project, which pairs youth with professional theater artists to create original work; Will Power, award-winning actor and playwright and pioneer of Hip Hop Theater; Priscilla Lopez, Tony Award-winning singer and actress who performed in the original cast of the Broadway hit A Chorus Line (first staged at The Public Theater), and buskers from Coney Island U.S.A. who greeted guests as they arrived at the theater. The event also featured a comic voiceover by Philippe de Montebello, director and CEO of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Following the ceremony puppets from the annual New York's Village Halloween Parade led guests into a reception where P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center's curator of DJ music performed.

The Mayor's Awards for Arts & Culture were made possible by generous support from the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Agnes Gund and Daniel Shapiro, New Line Cinema, Judith and Robert Rubin, the Silverweed Foundation, the Laurie M. Tisch Foundation, and Jeanette Sarkisian Wagner and Paul Wagner through The Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City, Bedell Cellars, and Pentagram.


Stu Loeser/Jennifer Falk   (212) 788-2958


Sara Rutkowski/Teresa Gonzalez   (Department of Cultural Affairs)
(212) 513-9322

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