In the Moment: The Arts Council of Fairfax County’s Arts Awards Announced

Celebrating outstanding achievements, leadership, and support to the arts in Fairfax County, the Cities of Fairfax and Falls Church, Virginia, the Arts Council of Fairfax County is presenting its annual Arts Awards at a gala luncheon event on Friday, October 14, 2016.

Local News-4 newscaster Jim Vance will be the master of ceremonies for the Arts Awards luncheon.

Jim Vance.
Jim Vance.

The Arts Council has a mission to map the future of the Arts in Fairfax County. The Council has received plaudits for it Arts endeavors in these days of more limited government resources targeted for the Arts.

This year’s Arts Awards are for innovative arts education, for world-renowned historical collection and preservation, exceptional talent, and commitment to service in the Arts.

The recipients are George Washington’s Mount Vernon, the Fairfax Choral Society, Dominion Resources Service,s and the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. They will be recognized for their outstanding contributions to the support the arts in Fairfax County and the Cities of Fairfax and Falls Church.

Linda Sullivan.
Linda Sullivan.

“We’re delighted to honor our 2016 Arts Awards recipients for their extraordinary leadership in the areas of decorative arts collection and preservation, innovative music education, developing exceptional talent, and immense philanthropic and volunteer service,” said Linda S. Sullivan, President and CEO of the Arts Council of Fairfax County.

“Their extraordinary contributions serve as a model in the industry for enhancing the lives millions of people of all ages in our community and beyond,” said Linda S. Sullivan, President and CEO of the Arts Council of Fairfax County.

As provided by the Arts Council of Fairfax County, the 2016 Arts Awards are as follows:

Jinx Hazel Arts Award


The 2016 Jinx Hazel Arts Award will be presented to Dominion Resources Services for the organizations’ tremendous support and long-term investment in the artistic and cultural vitality of rural and urban communities in Fairfax County and throughout the Commonwealth. Dominion’s involvement and contributions range from supporting both small and mid-sized arts and cultural initiatives, with the Dominion Foundation supporting at least 26 nonprofit arts organizations in Fairfax County and the Cities of Fairfax and Falls Church since 2011. Also since 2011, Dominion’s annual, state-wide ArtStars Awards Program has recognized 41 nonprofit organizations, including four in Fairfax County: McLean Project for the Arts, Creative Cauldron, Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, and the Northern Virginia Youth Winds, a youth division of the City of Fairfax Band Association.

In addition to monetary support, Dominion and its employees annually contribute more than 100,000 volunteer hours in states served by Dominion companies. Dominion’s volunteers have long supported multiple festivals and community activities in Fairfax County including, Celebrate Fairfax, ArtSpace—Herndon’s American roots music concert series, the Herndon Festival, and the International Children’s Festival.

Arts Impact Award


The 2016 Arts Impact Award will be presented to George Washington’s Mount Vernon for its extraordinary local, national, and global impact in the collection and preservation of material culture, art, and decorative arts of the mid-late 18th century. Renowned across the globe as a landmark, George Washington’s Mount Vernon draws over one million visitors to Fairfax County each year to explore its historic home, extensive gardens, and 23 galleries.

Mount Vernon is uniquely American, housing a rich collection of works by American artists. Mount Vernon’s archaeological collection alone features more than 500,000 objects. Also included is a rich collection ofpaintings, prints, sculpture, furniture, ceramics, metals, glass, textiles, tools, clothing, and personal accessories owned by or related to George and Martha Washington and their family, as well as period pieces similar to original Mount Vernon objects. More than 700 pieces are on display today.

Mount Vernon has made a major impact through its extensive educational programs, not just on the historical aspects of Mount Vernon and George Washington, but also on its museum collections. Today, Mount Vernon’s Washington Library serves as a scholarly retreat, creating outreach programs, seminars and training programs with a special focus on Washington’s leadership. Its annual Symposium rotates between Gardens, Decorative Arts, and Art & Architecture on a triennial schedule. Regardless of theme, outstanding scholars and experts in their field present lectures which engage colleagues from across the globe to deepen their experience in all that Mount Vernon has to offer.

Arts Philanthropy Award


The 2016 Arts Philanthropy Award will be presented to the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation in recognition of the foundation’s extraordinary contributions to advance the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need. Since 2000, the Cooke Foundation has awarded over $152 million in scholarships to nearly 2,200 outstanding low-income students and more than $90 million in grants to organizations that serve such students. The foundation’s grant programs support academic achievement, artistic advancement, college access and excellence.

By offering the largest scholarships in the country, in-depth academic counseling and other direct services, the Cooke Foundation helps high-performing students from low-income families develop their talents and excel educationally. The Cooke Foundation supports visual and performing arts education through its Good Neighbor Grants, which fund projects in the metropolitan Washington region, including the District of Columbia, Northern Virginia, and Maryland.

Through the NPR classical music radio program “From the Top,” the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Awards each year provide 20 outstanding young musicians who demonstrate financial need with a $10,000 scholarship to advance their artistic development and education. The award recipients come from across the United States and abroad. In addition to being serious students of classical piano, violin, flute, guitar and other instruments, they are also active in community service and academic pursuits.

Through its Widening the Stage Grant Program, operated between 2012 and 2016, the Cooke Foundation partnered with community music schools, pre-conservatories and summer music programs to expand access to advanced music instruction and performance education for talented young musicians from low-income backgrounds, ages 8 to 18.

Jack Kent Cooke (1912-1997) was known for his ownership of the Washington Redskins football team and was also a passionate student his entire life, knowledgeable in the fields of literature, music and architecture. As a musician, he was a member of the American Society of Composers and Producers, wrote music and was a published artist. He collected fine art and played several instruments including the piano and saxophone. 

Arts Education Award


The 2016 Arts Education Award will be presented to the Fairfax Choral Society for its contributions in music education, performance, and appreciation of choral art for people of all ages. With eleven ensembles and more than fifteen musicianship classes, FCS is one of the largest choral groups in Northern Virginia and the only organization providing opportunities to nearly 400 choral singers from preschool through adult.

The Fairfax Choral Society Youth Choruses provide singers ages five to nineteen the opportunity to expand their vocal experience in an auditioned choral program. Almost 250 singers participate in more than fifteen classes and eleven performing ensembles at three campuses located in Annandale, Vienna, and Centreville. The FCS Youth Choruses have sung for choral festivals, schools, church concert series, with the National Symphony Orchestra and the American Youth Philharmonic, at Carnegie Hall, at the White House, and in collaboration with other youth choruses throughout the Washington area. Their repertoire includes classical, folk, and the finest contemporary compositions for treble and mixed voices. In addition to the choirs, FCS has a rigorous education program. Its innovative programs in partnership with Fairfax County Schools engage students in unique music learning opportunities, helping to enhance overall learning.

Fairfax Choral Society is being honored for its extraordinary work in providing music education, performance, and appreciation of choral arts opportunities, which have enhanced the lives of thousands of people of all ages. Fairfax Choral Society Early childhood musicianship classes for ages 3-4 start children and parents on a musical journey together. For high school students, FCS offers advanced music theory seminars. Music literacy classes for adults, commissioning contests, special guest workshops, and guest lecturers provide opportunities for musical enrichment and education for the entire community.

The 2016 Arts Awards luncheon is sponsored by the Arts Council of Fairfax County. The event will be held on Friday, October 14, 2016, from noon to 2 p.m. at the Fairview Park Marriott – 3111 Fairview Park Drive, in Falls Church, VA.

Tables and individual tickets to the event can be purchased online or by contacting the Arts Council of Fairfax County at [email protected], or by calling (703) 642-0862 x2.

Points of Light – 2016 Arts Awards design by Rebecca Kamen

2016 Arts Award designed by Rebecca Kamen.
2016 Arts Award designed by Rebecca Kamen.

The 2016 Arts Awards design, Points of Light, is a limited edition silkscreen by renowned artist Rebecca Kamen. Kamen is a contemporary visual artist, sculptor, and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) pioneer whose innovative work bridges the arts and education with chemistry, neuroscience, and astrophysics. She has exhibited and lectured across the United States, and in China, Hong Kong, Chile, Korea, Egypt, Spain, and Australia. Kamen, who lives in McLean, was the recipient of the 2015 Arts Achievement Award. Points of Light explores the nature of the mind and the power of collaboration.

Artist Statement from Rebecca Kamen:

Rebecca Kamen. Photo courtesy of NVCC.
Rebecca Kamen. Photo courtesy of NVCC.

Geometry is a visual language bridging art and science. The Vesica Piscis, the geometric shape used in creating the silkscreen print Points of Light, is an appropriate form for the 2016 Arts Award. Considered as sacred by ancient mathematicians, the geometry of the Vesica Piscis is a powerful symbol of transformation; its creation, a means for producing the first concept of a line through the intersection of the circles.

Points of Light, inspired by a series of ongoing dialogues with British poet, Steven J. Fowler explores the nature of the mind. The text, visually weaving in and out, explores the transitive nature of human thought, and reveals the poetic and metaphorical nature of neuroscience through its embedded content:

“The points of light created by the firing of synapses in matter that each of us carry within to reinvigorate exchange grey to knowledge of grey.”

As a former recipient of the Council’s Arts Achievement Award, it has been an honor to be asked to create this year’s award. The geometry and the poetic text of the print, serve as a metaphor for the power of collaboration: entities coming together to create new ideas and concepts. It also symbolizes the transformational spirit of the 2016 recipients of this award and their impact on the arts in Fairfax County.


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