Everyone enjoys a pat on the back every once in a while, but it's even better to get an actual award that you can use to impress your friends and taunt your enemies. Every year the Arts Alliance presents Bravos Awards to those artists who have contributed the most to our city's cultural landscape. This year, multimedia artist John Garrett has created a special artwork to be bestowed on the winners at a ceremony taking place this Saturday evening, April 9, at 6 p.m. at the Albuquerque Marriott.
This time around, the dance award goes to Katherine Fishback for teaching ballet, tap, ballroom, jazz and Scottish dance to Albuquerque students for six decades. The music award goes to David Oberg, the founder of the Chamber Orchestra of Albuquerque, who also served as that group's conductor for 29 seasons. The visual arts award goes to Page Coleman, owner of Coleman Gallery, for all she's done in transforming Nob Hill into the center of artistic energy it is today.
Rick Nickerson gets the theater award for cultivating young thespians for the past 25 years in his Nickerson Young Actors group. The literary award goes to Mary Montaño, author of Tradiciones Nuevomexicanas: Hispano Arts and Culture of New Mexico, which won a Southwest Book Award in 2002.
Every year, the Arts Alliance also hands out Bravos Awards to those working behind the scenes to improve the arts in our city. Jane and Doug Swift get the 2005 prize for outstanding arts volunteer for working unpaid at such organizations as the Albuquerque Community Foundation, the Albuquerque Arts Alliance, Magnífico, Opera Southwest, the Urban Enhancement Trust Fund, the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra and the city's Public Arts Program. The Swifts have been dedicated arts volunteers since the '50s.
Likewise, Michael (Mickey) Prokopiak gets this year's award for outstanding arts teacher. For the last 25 years, Prokopiak has taught theater at Albuquerque Academy, directing over 100 student productions and mentoring thousands of students.
New Grounds Print Workshop gets the award this year for outstanding arts organization. Founded in 1996 by Regina Held, New Grounds presents exhibits and offers a range of classes on the art of print making. More importantly, the organization allows experienced artists to create prints using New Grounds' extensive equipment.
Finally, this year's Presidents Award goes to John Trever for almost 30 years of editorial cartooning at the Albuquerque Journal.
Congrats to all the winners. Tickets for the award ceremony are $70 per person, with proceeds going to the Albuquerque Arts Alliance. To order, call 268-1920.