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Mayor Durkan announces recipients for the 2019 Mayor’s Arts Awards

Recipients will be honored at the Mayor’s Arts Awards ceremony on
Thursday, August 29 at 4 p.m. at the Charlotte Martin Theatre, Seattle Center

SEATTLE – Mayor Durkan announced the recipients of the 2019 Mayor’s Arts Awards. The award honorees are Center on Contemporary Art (CoCA), Dani Tirrell, Delbert Richardson, Intiman Theatre, and Marcie Sillman. All five recipients have shaped Seattle’s arts and cultural landscape through their contributions to the community, education, arts and race and social justice.

Collage of the 2019 Mayor's Arts Awards recipients
left to right: Center for Contemporary Art, Intiman Theatre, Delbert Richardson,
Marcie Sillman, Dani Tirrell

“Seattle’s artists inspire us, and they make our City better. These artists represent the rich diversity of talent, innovation, and passion in our communities,” said Mayor Durkan. “The Mayor’s Arts Awards are a chance to shine a light on amazing arts and cultural contributors in Seattle, and to celebrate the work they’re doing to advance equity and justice. Congratulations to these incredible artists.”

The Mayor’s Arts Awards celebrates the people and organizations that broaden our horizons and humanize our city and our world. The winners will be honored at the Mayor’s Arts Award Ceremony on Thursday, August 29 at 4 p.m. at the Charlotte Martin Theatre at Seattle Children’s Theatre. Recipients will be presented with an original artwork award by KT Hancock, a local, emerging artist working in glass and metal.

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

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

About the 2019 Mayor’s Arts Award Recipients

Two performers in th middle of CoCA's gallery.
Fear of the Other by Laura Rodriguez, 2017, Photo by Warren Woo

Seattle’s Center on Contemporary Art (CoCA) serves the Pacific Northwest as a catalyst and forum for the advancement, development, and understanding of Contemporary Art. CoCA has been a vital part of contemporary art in the Northwest for nearly 40 years, and has operated galleries and produced events throughout the Seattle area since 1981 when over 100 artists, local business owners, and arts supporters formed the organization.

CoCA has continued to question the status quo of the existing art scene by challenging the social and political meaning of art and artists in contemporary society. The organization, staff, board and members have encouraged experimentation from artists through gallery exhibits, music and dance performances, residencies and discussion forums. CoCA has a long history of providing an inclusive space for emerging and established artists to make and show their creative efforts. CoCA continues to champion diversity of community, culture, race, ethnicity, and gender for their Board, Volunteers, Staff, and Artists, and address the disparities that often challenge arts organizations and society. Executive & Artistic Director, Nichole DeMent; Gallery Manager, Katelyn Johnson, MA; Board President, Eddie Reed, EdD; and Board Chair, Judith Rayl, MD, PhD, currently manage CoCA.

Dani Tirrell promo image for "FagGod".
Promo image of Dani Tirrell from FagGod, 2019 at CD Forum

Dani Tirrell (Seattle, WA) is A Black, Queer choreographer, dancer and movement guide. Dani has guided people in Detroit and Seattle as well as sharing movement practices in other cities in the United States. Currently Dani is the curator for the 2019/2020 season of Central District Forum for Arts and Ideas, this is Dani’s second season as curator. Dani is the host and co-creator of Sunday Dinners, and served as the student advisor for the Arts Diversity Council at University of Washington (Seattle campus).

Dani is the founder and current artistic director of The Congregation a movement/art collective that is led by mostly Black and Queer bodies. Dani is currently teaching at Northwest Tap Connection and University of Washington Seattle campus and Bothell campus (fall 2019). Dani has created work for Dance This (Northwest Tap Connection), Strictly Seattle (advance/professional track), Seattle Repertory Theater, Nina Simone Four Women (Directed by Valerie Curtis-Newton).

Dani also was at the helm of four sold out shows, for Dani’s production of Black Bois (On the Boards). In 2019 Dani was the recipient of an Artist Trust Fellowship Award and a Dance Crush Award for Black Bois (performance). Dani also received a 2018 Arts Matter Fellowship grant. Dani current work FagGod in collaboration with Anastasia Renee and Naa Akua was presented in Central District Forum for Arts and Ideas 2019/2020 season.

Delbert Richardson
Delbert Richardson

Delbert Richardson, is an ethnomuseumologist, Second generation storyteller, and the founder of the American History Traveling Museum: The “Unspoken” Truths. This National Award Winning mobile museum is geared primarily towards the self-empowerment of Black and Brown COC (Children of Color). With the use of authentic artifacts, storyboards, and the ancient art of “Storytelling”, Mr. Richardson’s goal is to inspire youth in the areas of identity development and self-actualization. His multi-sensory “hands-on” exhibit creates a unique opportunity for attendees of all ages to appreciate the courage, perseverance, resilience, and determination, of Black/African American people and the many contributions that have made to the world.

The “Unspoken” Truths American History Traveling Museum chronicles the rich history of Africans in Africa prior to American Chattel Slavery, the experiences and impact of American Chattel Slavery, Jim Crow Era, and the many contributions African Americans have had in scientific, cultural, and technological (inventions) innovations in the U.S. and the world.

Two actors sit on the floor, one of them is trans, looking at each other.
Production photo from HIR at ArtsWest Playhouse and Gallery, 2018, Photo by John McClellan

Intiman Theatre’s mission is to Wrestle with American Inequities. Intiman is a professional theater company in Seattle, Washington who in recent years was awarded three 2018 Gregory Awards for their Outstanding Production of a Musical (Dragon Lady),  three 2018-19 Teeny Awards for being an awesome org, creating work that most artfully illuminated a social issue or sparked civic dialogue, most transformative theatre experience as well as the 2006 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. Intiman is overseen by Artistic Director Jennifer Zeyl, Executive Director Phillip Chavira, and Board President Daniel Nye. The company retired a historical $2.7m in debt & obligations in 2018, with thanks to the community for keeping Intiman alive and flourishing. We are grateful to share a Free for Everyone ticketing initiative with our audiences made possible by our Community Ticket Project.

Since its founding in 1972, Intiman Theatre has presented 240 productions to Seattle audiences. Among the more recent of these are HIR by Taylor Mac, WILD HORSES by Allison Gregory, NATIVE GARDENS by Karen Zacarías, ANGELS IN AMERICA by Tony Kushner, TROUBLE IN MIND and WEDDING BAND by Alice Childress,  and BOOTYCANDY and BARBECUE by Robert O’hara.

Intiman produces in various venues throughout Seattle, which include the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute in Central District, The Erikson Off Broadway, 12th Avenue Arts, Velocity Dance Center, UW Jones Playhouse, Seattle Center Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre, the Alhadeff Studio and Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center.

Marcie Sillman
Marcie Sillman

Marcie Sillman, arts and culture reporter at KUOW, arrived at the station in 1985 to produce the station’s daily public affairs program, Seattle After Noon. One year later, she became the local voice of All Things Considered, NPR’s flagship afternoon news magazine. After five years holding down the drive-time microphone, a new opportunity arose. Along with Dave Beck and Steve Scher, Marcie helped create Weekday, a daily, two-hour forum for newsmakers, artists and thinkers. During her career, more than 100 of her stories have been heard on NPR’s newsmagazines, as well as on The Voice of America. In 2005, she became KUOW’s first special projects reporter. In this role, she produced in-depth audio portraits and documentary series about life and culture in the Puget Sound Region. In September, 2013, Marcie was part of the team that created The Record, a daily news magazine focused on the issues and culture of the Puget Sound region. Marcie writes regularly about Seattle’s dance scene for national publications and at her blog, “And Another Thing.” Her book Out There: Jonathan Porretta’s Life in Dance was released in 2016 by Seattle Scriptorum publishing house.

Nominees for the 2019 Mayor’s Arts Awards

Congratulations to everyone who was nominated* this year:

206 Zulu  ▪  African American Writers’ Alliance  ▪  Africatown   ▪  Afua Kouyate ▪  Al Doggett and Esther Ervin  ▪   Alana Skye Crawley  ▪  Amanda Manitach  ▪  Angie Hinojos Yusuf  ▪  Asia Tail  ▪  Ben Hunter  ▪  Bill Berry  ▪  Blue Cone Studios   ▪  Bushwick Northwest   ▪   C&P Coffee  ▪   Casey Weldon  ▪  Center on Contemporary Art (CoCA)   ▪   Christiane Karefa-Johnson  ▪  Claire Michelle  ▪  Clarion West   ▪   Claudia Castro Luna  ▪  Creative Justice  ▪   Dani Terrill  ▪  Daniel Pak  ▪  Dante Felder  ▪  Degenerate Art Ensemble  ▪   Dina Blade  ▪  Delbert Richardson  ▪  Donte Felder  ▪  Duwamish Tribe  ▪   D’Vonne Lewis  ▪  Early Music Seattle   ▪   Eli Lara  ▪  Emerald Comics Distro   ▪   Eric Banks  ▪  Eric Nelson  ▪  Eric Salisbury  ▪  Esther Altshul Helfgott  ▪  Etienne Cakpo-Gbokou  ▪  Free2Luv  ▪  Gallery Onyx  ▪  Gary Faigin  ▪  Hallie Kuperman  ▪  Hanako O’Leary  ▪  Ijeoma Oluo  ▪  Intiman Theatre  ▪   Inye Wokoma  ▪  Jade D’Souza  ▪  Jayden Fennell  ▪  Jean Walkinshaw  ▪  Jeffrey Veregge  ▪  Jeffry Mitchell  ▪  Jennifer Zeyl  ▪  Jovino Santos Neto   ▪  Julie Chang Schulman  ▪  Julius Brandon  ▪  Kelly Kitchens  ▪  Kelly LaCombe  ▪  Kelly Lyles  ▪  Kimerly Rorschach  ▪  Larry Reid  ▪  Living Voices   ▪   Lorrie Scott Cardoso  ▪  Marcie Sillman  ▪  Marisol Sanchez Best  ▪  Markel Uriu  ▪  Martín Sepulveda  ▪  Miguel del Aguila  ▪  Mindie Lind  ▪  Music4Life  ▪   Nisi Shawl  ▪  Northwest African American Museum   ▪   Onyx Fine Arts Collective   ▪   Patti Curtis  ▪  Phoebe Bosché  ▪  Pramila Jayapal  ▪  Rain City Rock Camp   ▪  Richard Gold  ▪  Room Circus Medical Clowning  School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts  ▪   Ryan Blackwell  ▪  Ryan Henry Ward  ▪  Sahra Farah  ▪  Sam Farrazaino  ▪  Sarah Fansler Lavin  ▪  Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra   ▪   Seattle Walk Report  ▪  Seayoung Yim  ▪  Shaya Lyon  ▪  Stephanie Johnson-Toliver  ▪  Susan Silver  ▪  Tariqa Waters  ▪  Ten Grands Seattle   ▪  Teresa Thuman  ▪  The AMP: AIDS Memorial Pathway   ▪   The Arboretum Foundation   ▪   The Residency, a program of Arts Corps, MoPOP and Macklemore, LLC   ▪   The Union   ▪   Verhanika Willhelm  ▪  Vincent Keele  ▪  Virginia Wright  ▪  Wa Na Wari  ▪  Witch Chat  ▪  Wyking Garrett

*only eligible nominations are included.