The sixth annual Arts Awards will be held on Friday, October 20, 2017 from 12:00pm – 2:00pm at the Fairview Park Marriott Hotel in Falls Church, VA. The Arts Awards recognize the visionary contributions the arts bring to Fairfax County and the Cities of Fairfax and Falls Church. Through these awards, we bring together the arts, business, civic communities, and our elected leadership to celebrate artistic excellence, outstanding achievements, and dedication to the cultural life in our community. Our Master of Ceremonies for the 2017 Arts Awards will be NBC4 Washington anchor, Leon Harris.
At this year's Arts Awards, we will be having a raffle. One ticket buys you the chance to win one of two incredible prizes:
- Two tickets to the Kennedy Center Honors on Sunday, December 3, 2017 and an overnight stay as well as dinner at The Watergate Hotel
- A bed, breakfast, dinner, and spa package for two at the Ritz Carlton in Tysons Corner that includes an overnight stay, a 50-minute spa treatment, and dinner at the Entyse Wine Bar & Lounge
This year, we will be presenting, the Jinx Hazel Arts Award, the Arts Philanthropy Award, the Arts Achievement Award, and the Emerging Arts Award to Dewberry, Todd Hitt, Daniel Sheehy, and the Washington West Film Festival respectively.
Jinx Hazel Arts Award Honoree, Dewberry
The Jinx Hazel Arts Award is named in honor of Mrs. Til (Jinx) Hazel, whose love and dedication to the arts was unflagging, greatly contributing to the cultural life in our region. The award recognizes an individual or organization who exhibits substantial dedication to the arts and community and whose vision as well as commitment has played an important role to the quality of life in Fairfax County.
The 2017 Jinx Hazel Arts Award is presented to Dewberry for its ongoing support of the arts, education, and contributions to engineering, planning, and design in Fairfax County. Dewberry is recognized as one of the top engineering and design firms in the greater Washington D.C. region and nationally. They create the infrastructure from which our community aesthetics and quality of life evolves. In 1982, Dewberry was invited to design the new Filene Center at Wolf Trap after the original structure was destroyed in a fire. The new Filene Center stands today as one of the defining symbols of the strength of the arts in Fairfax County, enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of participants each year. Additionally, Dewberry has made significant contributions to arts education at George Mason University’s School of Music, and Mr. Barry Dewberry has been a long-time supporter of the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra. Dewberry also hosts the Luther Jackson Middle School Chorus winter concert for its Fairfax employees, and Dewberry has partnered with Luther Jackson Middle School for more than 20 years supporting the Expanding Visions program that helps students to better understand the positive impact of architecture and design on their community. Furthermore, Dewberry’s 2,000 employees track close to 4,000 community service hours annually, many dedicated to arts and educational initiatives in Fairfax.
The 2017 Jinx Hazel Arts Award will be sponsored by Dominion Energy.
Arts Philanthropy Award Honoree, Todd Hitt
The Arts Philanthropy Award acknowledges private sector support of the arts by honoring an individual, corporation, or foundation that has provided leadership funding or long-term monetary support to an arts organization or arts program in the Fairfax community.
Born and raised in Northern Virginia, Todd Hitt is committed to enhancing the economic and cultural vibrancy of the region in which he was raised. In 2007, after 25 years in commercial construction, real estate investment and development, and venture capital, Todd Hitt launched Kiddar Capital, a private equity company that stands at the forefront of built world technologies. Located in Falls Church, Virginia, Mr. Hitt’s office features art by local area artists. He believes giving back to one’s community is a core principle of citizenship. As a supporter of the arts and humanities, Hitt not only donates a significant portion of his income to local nonprofits each year, but he has also helped raise additional funds for those organizations over the last five years. Hitt has previously contributed to the Falls Church Education Foundation, and as a huge advocate for the arts in Falls Church, he spearheaded a major development project to house Creative Cauldron, an art gallery featuring art by local artists, and an outdoor cinema. His commitment to the arts is clear, intentional, and infectious.
The Arts Philanthropy Award will be sponsored by Daniel and Gayle D’Aniello at the 2017 Arts Awards.
Arts Achievement Award Honoree, Daniel Sheehy
The Arts Achievement Award recognizes outstanding achievements of an artist in any discipline who has produced unique, creative, innovative concepts, and made a lasting contribution to his or her discipline. The 2017 Arts Achievement Award is presented to Dr. Daniel E. Sheehy.
Daniel Sheehy is a musician, musicologist, educator, historian, and author, and he has devoted his life to ethnomusicology and to helping the world understand itself better by experiencing its diverse music and cultures. Additionally, Dr. Sheehy is one of the world’s most respected and honored authorities on the subject of Mexican mariachi music. He has written the only monograph in English on the subject, Mariachi Music in America: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture, published as part of the Global Music Series by Oxford University Press in 2006. Since 1978, in the basement of Daniel’s home in the Baileys Crossroads area of Falls Church, some fifty musicians have rehearsed, performed with Mariachi Los Amigos, and gone on to form their own bands. It is not an exaggeration to say that the proliferation of mariachi music in Greater Washington, DC is a result of Daniel Sheehy and the learning that continues to go on in his basement. Some of his many achievements in the arts include assisting with the 1976 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, working at the National Endowment for the Arts to develop support for folk and traditional artists, serving as the Director and Curator of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, and helping to create a national infrastructure to support folk arts in America. Ultimately, the reach of Daniel Sheehy as an educator and folk music supporter extends far beyond his home in Fairfax County.
The Arts Achievement Award will be sponsored by the Claude Moore Charitable Foundation this year.
Emerging Arts Award Honoree, Washington West Film Festival
The Emerging Arts Award recognizes a new or young arts organization that presents quality arts programming and engages a broad sector of the community. The Emerging Arts Award this year will be presented to the Washington West Film Festival.
The Washington West Film Festival (WWFF) emerged in 2011 as Fairfax’s first professional film festival organization with a mission to celebrate the transformative power of film. The organization showcases some of the finest new films and filmmakers from around the world while creating stories of hope by directing its box office funds to projects which aid communities in need. Since its beginning, the WWFF has screened more than 300 films through its annual festival in Fairfax, drawing over 16,000 attendees in its short history. In 2014, the WWFF expanded its arts education and community outreach programming to extend the impact of the festival throughout the year. Most exciting, the WWFF directs 100% of its box office net proceeds to solve problems of hunger, illness, and education. The WWFF is becoming a significant and prestigious film festival in the mid-Atlantic region and is showcasing Fairfax County as a cultural hub that draws national and international film industry attention.
The Emerging Arts Award will be sponsored by the Reston Community Center for the 2017 Arts Awards.