2016 AMOCAT Arts Award winners announced

19 Sep

The Tacoma Arts Commission has announced this year’s AMOCAT Arts Award winners: Metro Parks Tacoma (Arts Patron), Tacoma Youth Symphony Association (Community Outreach by an Organization), and Christopher Paul Jordan (Community Outreach by an Individual). The AMOCAT Arts Awards honor the people and organizations that positively impact the community with their passion, innovation, and commitment to the arts.

Play in Peace program at Wright Park on Friday May 20 2011 followed by a Peace March to McCarver Elem. School in Tacoma, Wa. Photo By Russ Carmack

Play in Peace program at Wright Park on Friday May 20 2011 followed by a Peace March to McCarver Elem. School. Photo By Russ Carmack

Arts Patron – Metro Parks Tacoma

This award goes to Metro Parks Tacoma for its ongoing commitment to serving and partnering with the greater Tacoma community.

From historic statues in Wright Park, and cultural pieces gifted from Tacoma’s Sister Cities that grace Point Defiance, to contemporary works that inspire visitors and beautify non-traditional mediums ranging from concrete walkways to conversation benches, amphitheater seats and community center exteriors, Tacoma’s parks provide an array of public art experiences throughout the community.

While performing and visual arts have long been part of the park system, opportunities for individuals to hone their personal skills through classes has expanded greatly since the inception of the Metro Arts program. Beyond individual exploration and development in the arts, the program provides access for the entire community to participate in free events and coordinates community projects to unite diverse audiences through shared art experiences.

Metro Parks’ contributions to our creative culture in Tacoma is evident in its commitment to making sure all forms of art can be experienced and enjoyed by our community. Their commitment to access is demonstrated by the Board’s recent adoption of a 1 percent for public art policy on all capital projects totaling more than $100,000, helping ensure even greater access to arts, as well as increasing opportunities for artists in our community.

Tacoma Youth Symphony string trio

Tacoma Youth Symphony string trio

Community Outreach by an Organization – Tacoma Youth Symphony Association

This award goes to Tacoma Youth Symphony Association for its deep and ongoing commitment to nurturing and serving youth across the region.

For over 50 years, the Tacoma Youth Symphony Association has provided nurturing, all-inclusive programs for young musicians. What started as one orchestra of less than 100 students in 1963, has grown into an internationally recognized youth orchestra organization comprised of five orchestras and over 400 students from all over Western Washington. The members of the Tacoma Youth Symphony Association range in age from seven to 21, and represent more than 100 schools in 20 communities. One of the largest youth orchestras in the United States, the Tacoma Youth Symphony Association also offers theory classes, a chamber music program, brass and woodwind ensembles, summer music camps, and harp and bass training programs.

Tacoma Youth Symphony Association is also committed to serving the surrounding community. Each year, the Tacoma Youth Symphony, the top orchestra, offers Discover Music Concerts for fourth graders from around the greater Tacoma area. These free concerts are designed to introduce school children to classical music and reach nearly 2,000 students. In addition, the Tacoma Young Artists Orchestra and Tacoma String Philharmonia do annual school tours, performing for underserved student bodies throughout the community. The Tacoma String Symphony performs each year in retirement communities and the Tacoma Junior Youth Symphony performs at the Victorian Country Christmas.

Committed to education, the Tacoma Youth Symphony Association education specialist and several Tacoma Youth Symphony Association conductors visit schools throughout the school year, where they coach and conduct in band and orchestra classrooms and provide musical demonstrations in classrooms. Tacoma Youth Symphony Association also offers a String Orchestra Festival each March for middle and junior high school string programs. The String Orchestra Festival draws approximately 1,200 students each year from schools all over the Puget Sound area for a day of performance in a non-competitive environment. Schools also have the opportunity to play together in a festival orchestra.

Christopher Paul Jordan in studio.

Christopher Paul Jordan in studio.

Community Outreach by an Individual – Christopher Paul Jordan

This award goes to Christopher Paul Jordan for his work in bridging audiences through the fusion of art and community organizing.

Jordan’s documentary, MEANWHILE: The Lasting Impact of Juvenile Records, was instrumental in provoking legislative change to state policies that previously allowed the selling of records of system-involved youth to private for-profit companies, often blocking access to housing, education and jobs for Washington’s most vulnerable youth.

Today, Jordan co-directs the grassroots youth organization Fab-5, which empowers young people as creative leaders who inspire change in their surroundings. He co-founded FABITAT which, for five years, has served as a drop-in interdisciplinary creative lab for youth year-round.

Jordan’s collaboration with Tacoma Action Collective through the #StopErasingBlackPeople  campaign built partnerships among Black artists, archivers, and HIV prevention organizers nationwide to give visibility to the impact of the U.S. AIDS Crisis on African Americans.

Jordan’s efforts this year include co-establishing Hue Collaborative, a cohort of 10 artists of color working in public art and currently completing an 1,800 square foot mural commission for the People’s Community Center; co-founding the Breaker Studio Gallery to highlight and support artists of color and community organizers in Tacoma with exhibition and convening space; and using social sculpture to advocate for increased affordable housing in the Hilltop neighborhood, where Jordan was born and is based.

Jordan is currently working on a statewide visioning project with the League of Education Voters, striving to push for progress in the dialogue about the future of education in Washington state by convening the voices of those who stand in the opportunity gap.


Awards Celebration

Awardees will be honored at the annual Tacoma Arts Month Opening Party on Sept. 29, from 6 – 9 p.m., at Asia Pacific Cultural Center (4851 South Tacoma Way). Deputy Mayor Ryan Mello and Council Members Keith Blocker and Marty Campbell will present the awards starting at 8 p.m.

In addition, there will be live entertainment at this event that includes contemporary dance by the Barefoot Collective, cultural dance performances by Asia Pacific Cultural Center, poetry by Tacoma Poet Laureate Cathy Nguyen, music by Champagne Sunday, cirque and aerial performances by Vuelta la Luna, and juggling by Saylor Purtle. Attendees can also experience an exhibit of Wayzgoose steamroller prints and a series of multimedia art exhibits by Matanofo Porter, Denis Maina, Saiyare Refaei, Jorge Garcia, and Kristin Giordano; film screenings by The Grand Cinema and Spaceworks Tacoma; a life-sized kaleidoscope installation by Tinkertopia; hands-on art making with Tacoma Art Museum; an interactive photo booth with Metro Parks Tacoma; and more. The event will include appetizers and a no-host bar.

This free public event is presented by the Tacoma Arts Commission and Spaceworks Tacoma and hosted by Asia Pacific Cultural Center. Event sponsors include Northwest Stage, Artist & Craftsman Supply and The Grand Cinema. Tacoma Arts Month premier sponsors are The Greater Tacoma Community Foundation and Click! Cable TV. Media sponsors include Crosscut, KNKX, Northwest Public Radio, ParentMap, Sounds Fun Mom, South Sound magazine, Tacoma Weekly and Weekly Volcano. The social media sponsor is ARCADE.

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