Past Winners

2016 Winners

Cliff Keuter Dance Artist Award: Nicole Olson
Nicole has taught dance at Metropolitan Arts High School for over 5 years. She has performed in Arizona with Phoenix Opera, Movement Source Dance Co., Dulce Dance, Nearly Naked Theatre, Center Dance Ensemble, and Scorpius Dance Theatre. She has been producing her own work in Phoenix for over 10 years.

Language Artist Award: Rashaad Thomas
“Artivist” Rashaad Thomas is a veteran of the US Airforce. He’s worked with various programs, including ASU’s Project Humanities, the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy, and Performance in the Borderlands. His work incorporates theoretical perspectives of the Black intellectual tradition, the lyrical nature of the jazz tradition, and the rawness of the hip hop tradition, merged into a work that is all his own, while still honoring the voices of the past.

Music Artist Award: Jerry Lawson

Jerry helped create the genre of acapella, was the original lead singer of the Persuasions, and then spent 40 years preserving the art form. He donates his time and talent to schools and community groups. Today he shares his music and passion with the developmentally disabled. He has developed innovative and compassionate methods and, with no formal academic training, has reached the disabled community in ways that no professionals have.

Dr. Eugene Grigsby Visual Artist Award: Ann Morton

Ann is a native Phoenician who, after 35+ years as a graphic designer, shifted focus to pursue an MFA from Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute – School of Art. Her work has been shown and recognized nationally and internationally in locations including Los Angeles, Grand Rapids, Detroit, Houston, Australia, Jerusalem, and Rio de Janiero, but her passion is making a difference in her own hometown, Phoenix.

One of Ann’s most critically acclaimed pieces is “Ground Cover,” a public art action commissioned by the City of Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture. The project engaged an estimated 600 volunteers, from 22 U.S. states and Canada to make 300 blankets. Each blanket – knitted, crocheted, quilted or woven – formed a giant 50’x116’ blanket that covered a vacant lot in downtown Phoenix. The piece was photographed and documented, and each of the 300 blankets was then given to individuals experiencing homelessness.

Innovative Organization Award: Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona

For over 20 years Free Arts of Arizona has worked with dozens of organizations across the Valley, including the Phoenix Art Museum, the Phoenix Symphony, Ballet Arizona, and the Musical Instrument Museum. They use local professional teaching artists to teach children life and art skills. In total, Free Arts enlists 900 corporate and individual volunteers each year. They serve over 7,300 homeless, abused, and foster care children each year.

Lou & Evelyn Grubb Community Innovator Award: Rick Naimark

Rick Naimark started his employment with the City of Phoenix in 1986. He worked his way up to Deputy City Manager, at times overseeing Arts & Culture, Streets, and the Parks Department. Rick currently serves on the boards of Friends of Phoenix Public Art, Artlink, and the Jewish Historical Society.

Rick is now at ASU, working on campus planning and development projects, including expanding programs of the Herberger Insitute into Downtown Phoenix. In his free time, he’s an artist who started taking painting classes at Phoenix Center for the Arts a few years ago. In addition to working tirelessly for the community, he sells his paintings and gives 100% of the proceeds to local nonprofits, including the Hance Park Conservancy.

2015 Winners

Innovative Arts Organization: Phoenix Chinese Week
Dance Artist: Liliana Gomez
Music Artist: Ken Koshio
Visual Artist: Francisco “Enuf” Garcia
Lou & Evelyn Grubb Community Innovator: Tim Sprague

2014 Winners

Dance Organization: Flamenco Por La Vida
Music Organization: SOUNDS Academy
Theatre Organization: Space 55
Public Artist: Kristine Kollasch
Eugene Grigsby, Visual Artist Award: Jenna Raskin
Creative Writing: Dan Hull

2013 Winners

Dance Organization: Epik Dance Company
Music Organization: Classical Revolution PHX
Theatre Organization: Phonetic Spit
Public Artist: Mary Stephens
Eugene Grigsby, Visual Artist Award” Matthew Moore
Creative Writing: Tania Katan

2012 Winners

Dance Organization: Scorpius Dance Company
Music Organization: Downtown Chamber Series
Theatre Organization: Rising Youth Theatre
Public Artist: Hugo Medina
Visual Artist: Eugene Grigsby