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Finalists announced for 2016 Mayor’s Arts Awards

Winners will be revealed at the Mayor’s Arts Awards ceremony
on Friday, Sept. 2 at 12 p.m.

This year 11 finalists have been selected for the 2016 Mayor’s Arts Awards. Finalists were selected from over 350 nominations and the winners will be announced at the Mayor’s Arts Award Ceremony on Friday, September 2 at 12 p.m. at Seattle Center, just prior to Bumbershoot opening.

The Seattle Arts Commission recommended the finalists from a pool of more than 350 public nominations. The Mayor’s Arts Awards recognize the contributions of artists, creative industries and cultural organizations who contribute to Seattle’s reputation as a hub of creativity and innovation.

The 2016 finalists are:

  • Cultural Ambassador: Diana Adams, Wayne Horvitz , Kabby Mitchell
  • Arts & Innovation: Louie Gong, Hedgebrook, Seattle Music Partners
  • Philanthropy Award: Ellen Ferguson, Huong Vu
  • Legacy Award: Alfredo Arreguín, Annex Theater, Fantagraphics

The winners will be announced at the Mayor’s Arts Awards ceremony, on Friday, Sept. 2 at 12 p.m. at Seattle Center at the Mural Amphitheatre. The event is free and open to the public, but reservations are required. Presented in partnership with Bumbershoot, the awards ceremony is part of the official opening of Bumbershoot 2016. For 46 years, Bumbershoot has served as Seattle’s annual end-of-summer party — a celebration of music, art and creativity held beneath the iconic Space Needle in Seattle.

The Mayor’s Arts Awards are presented in partnership with Bumbershoot and One Reel with media sponsor City Arts and event sponsors The Boeing Company and Chihuly Garden and Glass.

For more information about the Mayor’s Arts Awards, including past recipients, visit 

About the 2016 Mayor’s Arts Award Finalists 

Cultural Ambassador Award Finalists  

Diana Adams – Diana Adams has cultivated and contributed to the Seattle arts and culture scene for 24 years. She has been a successful creative entrepreneur in many different fields including photography, publishing, e-commerce and hospitality. Her current gallery, Vermillion, is in the heart of Capitol Hill and in its eighth year. 

Wayne Horvitz – Wayne Horvitz is a composer, pianist and electronic musician. He is the recipient the 2016 Doris Duke Performing Artist Award. Horvitz is also the leader of The Royal Room Collective Music Ensemble, The Gravitas Quartet, Electric Circus, and Sweeter Than the Day. 

Kabby Mitchell – Kabby Mitchell, III is a choreographer, educator and performer. Mitchell is currently a professor at Evergreen State College where he teaches Dance and African studies. He frequently contributes his time to help programs that support the development of young urban dancers, and is a supporter of local art and theatre companies whose goals are to serve the underserved community through the arts. 

Arts & Innovation Award Finalists  

Louie Gong- Louie Gong (Nooksack) is a Seattle-based artist and entrepreneur known for merging traditional Coast Salish art with influences from his urban environment to make strong statements about identity. Gong’s artwork and products reflect the lived experiences of Native peoples today, challenging stereotypical views of what Native art – or Natives – should look like. 

Hedgebrook – Hedgebrook is a global community of women writers and people who seek extraordinary books, poetry, plays, films and music by women. A nonprofit, their mission is to support visionary women writers whose stories and ideas shape our culture now and for generations to come. 

Seattle Music Partners – Seattle Music Partners is dedicated to bringing more music-learning opportunities to students in low-income schools. They do this by offering free after school programs that uses music and mentorship to empower young people. Their unique program matches skilled volunteers from the community, one-on-one, with as many as 100 students who wish to learn how to play an instrument and become part of a vibrant music-making community.

Philanthropy Award Finalists    

Ellen Ferguson – Ellen Ferguson has a long history in arts and culture, both professionally and in volunteer service in the Seattle area. Ferguson currently serves on the board of the Burke Museum Association and Co-Chairs the Campaign for the New Burke. She is also the Co-Chair of the Wing Luke Asian Museum board and has held leadership positions on the boards of the Washington Museum Association and the Western Museum Association and has received lifetime achievement awards from both. 

Huong Vu – For the past two decades, Huong Vu has been a philanthropy manager and curator. She is currently the Community Investor-Arts, Culture and Civic Engagement, Global Corporate Citizenship-Pacific NW Region at The Boeing Company. Vu leads Boeing Commercial Airplane’s Pacific Northwest Region arts, culture, and civic engagement grants portfolio. Her personal passions center on immigrant refugee rights, social justice, equity, and mentoring the next generation of leaders.

Legacy Award Finalists

Annex Theater – Celebrating its 30th anniversary, Annex Theatre is a democratic collective of theatre artists dedicated to creating bold new work in an environment of improbability, resourcefulness, and risk. For the last three decades, Annex has been an accessible laboratory for new writing and performance work in Seattle, generating dozens of world premiere plays and providing crucial early-career development for hundreds of artists.

Alfredo Arreguín – Alfredo Arreguín was born in Mexico and developed as an artist in Seattle (BA 1967, MFA 1969—University of Washington), where he has resided since 1956. Over the last four decades, Arreguín has amassed a long and distinguished list of accomplishments that features many awards, exhibitions in France, Mexico, Spain, and the US. His works are included in many important private and public collections, including the National Museum of American Art and the National Portrait Gallery. 

Fantagraphics – Seattle-based Fantagraphics Books is celebrating its 40th year as one of the world’s leading publishers of comix, graphic novels, and “badass” books. Specializing in contemporary cartoonists, classic comic strips, foreign translations, and the history of the comics art form Fantagraphics is among our city’s most successful and colorful cultural institutions.