Congratulations to the 2018 Honorees

And thank you for all that you do to support, inspire and cultivate arts and culture in Arizona!

Philanthropy Award | Judith Hardes (Phoenix)

Judith Hardes was honored for her extraordinary philanthropic leadership through the contribution of financial resources to non-profit arts and culture organizations, and by encouraging the philanthropic support of others. For her generous efforts, friends describe Judith as among the most ardent, consistent and important donors in Arizona. Hardes has had a significant impact on a number of the Arizona’s major arts institutions, including Phoenix Theatre, Theater Works, Prescott Center for the Arts and Arizona Theatre Company.

Artist Award | Doug Hyde (Prescott)

Doug Hyde is a celebrated sculptor who has drawn national and international accolades for the stunning sculpture he’s brought to life. His work includes pieces in the Smithsonian Institution permanent collection, high-profile placements at the world-renowned Heard Museum, and a sculpture of a Navajo Code Talker in Phoenix. A Native American of Nez Perce, Chippewa and Assiniboine heritage, he grew up on the Nez Perce reservation in Idaho before going to study at the Institute of American Indian Arts.  It was during his childhood that Hyde’s grandfather and tribal elders first captured his imagination through retellings of Nez Perce oral history and legends — words and experiences that have influenced and inspired Hyde’s work throughout his life.

Artist Award | Dennis Rowland (Phoenix)

Dennis is an award-winning vocalist, actor, recording artist and music director whose talent and charisma have inspired students, fellow musicians and worldwide audiences for decades.  A Detroit native, he was the voice of the legendary Count Basie Orchestra from 1997 to 1984, sharing stages with all the great jazz icons of the day. Moving to Phoenix in 1985, he has appeared with Arizona Theatre Company and Phoenix Theatre, and in every major club and performance venue in Arizona while maintaining an international touring schedule.  In December 2013, he suffered a stroke and near-fatal cerebral hemorrhage that might have stopped even the most optimistic artists. But, through his unyielding determination, Dennis is back on stages and in classrooms where he’s generously shared his knowledge over the years.

Individual in Arts Education | Dennis Ott (Sedona)

Dennis Ott is a mentor for those wanting to unlock their creative potential and discover new things through the arts. Currently director of the Sedona Arts Center Ceramic Department, his entry into the art world was a second career after retiring from a corporate retail career in the 1970s and moving to Sedona where he took his first ceramics class. Having fallen in love with the Raku process and wheel work, Dennis began teaching a beginning wheel work class at the Sedona Arts Center.  Then, he became the department lead 15 years ago. He’s since expanded the program, led field expeditions to Italy and began a tradition of outreach programs to local schools and the Navajo Reservation. He has taught hundreds of now-established potters and ceramic artists practicing in Northern Arizona. 

Organization in Arts Education | Foothills Fine Arts Academy (Glendale)

Foothills Fine Arts Academy, built in 1979-1980, is a public Pre-K-8th grade, Title I school in the Peoria Unified School District, maintains a mission and vision of "Artful Teaching, Artful Learning." A PUSD Signature school, the Academy has focused on the arts in a different way than other valley schools since 2002.  The program has progressed from an emphasis on expanded arts education for upper-grade children in 5th-8th grade to serving the arts in three different ways: K-4 arts education in theater, visual art, music, and dance; a focused studio-based art education for 5th-8th grade students in the same areas as well as choir and band; and arts learning as an integral part of the classroom instruction by classroom teachers in all core areas of education.

Large Business | Vestar

Vestar is a nationally recognized leader in the acquisition, management and development of retail real estate with more than 10 million square feet currently under operation and management in Arizona, and more than 27 million square feet in the Unites States. Over the past 15 years, Vestar has made one of the single, largest art-based business contributions in Arizona through direct arts and cultural programming and individual artist support at its signature open-air shopping properties such as Desert Ridge Marketplace (Phoenix), Tempe Marketplace, Westgate Entertainment District (Glendale) and Oro Valley Marketplace (Southern AZ). More than 400 live performances a year are featured that support local singers, songwriters, and emerging and established musicians through events like the Live & Local weekly music series, Jazz in the Courtyard and Rock It Up.  Student performing arts presentations also are featured, as well as various art-based festivals.

Small Business | Changing Hands Bookstores (Phoenix | Tempe)

Changing Hands Bookstore, founded in 1974, is a book retailer with branches in Tempe and Phoenix which focuses on offering books not readily available elsewhere, and being a welcoming art and cultural gathering place. Recognized both locally and nationally for its importance, Changing Hands presents a wide range of writers, speakers, programs, and artists. It presents about 400 diverse author appearances annually, supports poets and poetry, is a major presenter of literature for children and teens. A partnership with ASU’s Department of English supports the Young Adult Writing Program. Special initiatives include presentation of Native American music and artists with Canyon Records, pre-school & kindergarten story times (including regular bilingual story times), alternative-themed story times with the Arizona LGBT+ History Project.

Community | Del E Webb Center for the Performing Arts (Wickenburg)

DEWPAC opened in 2001 with the mission to present culturally-diverse, live performing arts and educational experiences that inspire audiences and artistically transform the community. The Webb Center continually expands its capacity to present diverse, high quality performing arts professionals through generous support from various funding sources; a seasoned staff who always challenge themselves to “raise the bar”, and an increasing number of loyal patrons who promote the venue's reputation. 

Individual Award | Sam (Phoenix)

Sam received her undergraduate degree in Education and her MFA in Theatre for Youth from ASU. She has served as the coordinator of the Theatre Arts program at Phoenix Day School for the Deaf, as an adjunct instructor of creative drama at Phoenix College and as a certified ASL interpreter for many theater companies including Arizona Theatre Company, Childsplay, the Scottsdale Center for the Arts and ASU Gammage. She founded Detour Company Theatre to give performance opportunity to adults with cognitive and physical disabilities. Sam has made an extraordinary contribution to the development and growth of the arts in Arizona by creating authentic accessible theatre opportunities for adults could not otherwise be a part of the theatre community.