Sally Awards 2011: and the winners are…

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The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts has announced the 2011 Sally Ordway Irvine Awards honoring special achievement by Minnesota artists. The Sally Awards recognize individuals or institutions for their contributions to the state’s cultural life.


TU Dance – led by Toni-Pierce Sands and Uri Sands – was honored at the Sally Awards this evening

Image: Ingrid Werthmann

TU Dance, led by Toni-Pierce Sands and Uri Sands, was honored for Initiative. The company’s work incorporates modern dance, classical ballet, African-based, and urban vernacular movements. In 2011 the organization opened TU Dance Center to establish a welcoming hub for dance education, training and practice in Saint Paul for dance students of all ages and levels of experience.

Ta-Coumba-Aiken.jpgIn the Vision category, artist Tacoumba Aiken was chosen for creating public murals in collaboration with schools and communities. Aiken identifies opportunities that exist in architectural, landscape and public works projects, and then works in a wide range of glass, metal, clay, wood, and landscaping materials. Some of his recent public art projects with painted glazes on large ceramic installations have given his mural work new permanence.

Kevin-Smith.jpgKevin Smith was given the Commitment award for his years as President and CEO of the Minnesota Opera. He served from 1986 to 2011, a period in which the company expanded its season from three to five productions, doubled its attendance and grew its annual budget from $1.5 million to $9 million. During his tenure, Minnesota Opera was recognized for artistic excellence, a commitment to the development of new works, an innovative approach to production design, a highly successful Resident Artist Program, and progressive educational and community outreach programs.

Ross-Sutter.jpgThe Education award went to folk musician Ross Sutter, who has brought the music of diverse cultures into schools for almost thirty years. Sutter plays an array of folk instruments–guitar, bodhran, button accordion, dulcimer, bones–but is perhaps best known for his singular baritone voice, performing renditions of Irish, Scottish, Scandinavian, and American traditional and popular songs.

Rick-Jacobson.jpgRick Jacobson was presented the award for Arts Access, for audio describing more than 850 shows to visually impaired theater patrons. In addition he helped establish nationally recognized audio description practices for television. He has also described arena concerts for Neil Diamond, Tina Turner and Bette Midler.

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