Fairfax County, VA – Dewberry, Todd Hitt, Daniel Sheehy, and the Washington West Film Festival will be presented with the Jinx Hazel Arts Award, Arts Philanthropy Award, Arts Achievement Award, and Emerging Arts Award respectively at the Arts Council of Fairfax County’s 2017 Arts Awards on Friday, October 20, 2017 from noon to 2pm. Each year, the Arts Council recognizes four individuals or organizations who have made significant contributions to the arts in Fairfax County at the Arts Awards. Additionally, the Arts Council is excited to announce that this year’s Master of Ceremonies for the annual event will be Leon Harris.
“We’re delighted to honor our 2017 Arts Awards recipients for their amazing contributions to Fairfax County and beyond,” said Linda S. Sullivan, President and CEO of the Arts Council of Fairfax County. “The contributions this year’s honorees have provided in the areas of arts development, folk music education, and film programming will continue to enrich our County for years to come. In addition, we’re thrilled to welcome Leon Harris as the Master of Ceremonies for the Arts Awards event on October 20th.”
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.
Master of Ceremonies, Leon Harris
The 2017 Arts Awards Master of Ceremonies will be NBC4 Washington anchor, Leon Harris. Leon Harris joined the NBC4 Washington team after 21 years at CNN in Atlanta and 14 years in D.C. local news. Leon Harris.
About the Arts Awards
The Arts Council will present the sixth annual Arts Awards at the Fairview Park Marriott, located at 3111 Fairview Park Drive, in Falls Church, Virginia 22042 on Friday, October 20, 2017 from 12:00pm to 2:00pm. The event recognizes the extraordinary contributions of artists and arts organizations as well as the corporations, foundations, and individuals that support the arts in Fairfax County and the Cities of Fairfax and Falls Church. To learn more about the Arts Awards and to purchase tickets or table sponsorships, visit https://ArtsFairfax.wpengine.com/artsawards. Tables and individual tickets to the event can also be purchased by contacting the Arts Council of Fairfax County at artsawards@ArtsFairfax.wpengine.com or (703) 642-0862 x2.
About the Arts Council of Fairfax County
The Arts Council of Fairfax County fosters a dynamic and diverse arts scene throughout Fairfax County. We ensure the arts thrive by providing vision, leadership, capacity-building services, advocacy, funding, education, and information. The Council distributes over $500,000 annually through competitive grants and awards to arts organizations and artists of all disciplines. The Arts Council of Fairfax County is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and Fairfax County’s designated local arts agency. It is funded in part by Fairfax County, corporations, foundations, individuals, the Virginia Commission for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts.