PRESS RELEASE For Immediate Release

September 2005

2005 Mayor's Arts Awards Recognize Diverse Group of Individuals and Organizations Seattle, WA - The Mayor's Arts Awards recognize the contributions of individuals and organizations that make a difference in our community through art and cultural activities. The Seattle Arts Commission reviewed nearly 60 public nominations and recommended the recipients to Mayor Greg Nickels. "Art and culture play a big role in making Seattle a wonderful place to live, work and visit," said Mayor Nickels. "Let's honor the people and organizations making a positive difference in our community through artistic and cultural contributions. I don't think we brag enough about it and the Mayor's Arts Awards are one opportunity to help spread the word." The 2005 recipients, are:

David Brewster and Town Hall, Cultural Catalyst
Peter Donnelly, Tour de Force
Sara Liberty Laylin and Adams Elementary School, Innovation in Integrated Arts Education
Alden Mason, Northwest Legacy: Visual Art
The Tsutakawa Family: Gerard, Deems, Marcus and Mayumi, A Generation of Artistic Inspiration & Leadership
Reverend Patrinell Wright and Total Experience Gospel Choir, Soul of the Community

"The recipients of the 2005 Mayor's Arts Awards were selected this year from public nominations by the Seattle Arts Commission," said Mark Charles Paben, Commission chair. "It was very exciting to discover how individuals and organizations are contributing to the artistic sector in the city. We look forward to opening nominations again next spring."

Mayor Nickels will present the awards at the opening ceremonies of Bumbershoot, Seattle's Arts Festival, at noon on Friday, September 2, 2005. For Bumbershoot ticket information, visit Each awardee receives a signed, specially-framed copy of the 2005 Bumbershoot Fine Arts Poster, featuring "Hank Williams Is My Friend," by Joe Max Emminger. Poster design is by Karen Kirchhoff, printing by Litho. The poster is made possible through support from the Mayor's Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs, City of Seattle. Bumbershoot is produced & presented by One Reel, a Northwest non-profit arts organization, in collaboration with Seattle Center. The Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs promotes the value of arts and culture in and of communities throughout Seattle. The 15-member Seattle Arts Commission, citizen volunteers appointed by the Mayor and City Council, supports the City agency.

2005 Mayors Arts Awards - Bios

David Brewster and Town Hall Seattle, Cultural Catalyst

Town Hall Seattle is a mid-sized cultural center serving dozens of Seattle nonprofits who need a flexible, affordable home base, and the producer of its own programs and collaborations. Situated in a converted historic church on First Hill, Town Hall was saved from the wrecking ball in 1998 and now hosts more than 300 events and performances a year. Mid-sized, multi-arts venues like Town Hall are on the leading edge of cultural facilities in American cities. David Brewster, a longtime journalist in Seattle, led the campaign to save the building and its conversion to Town Hall. Since 1965 when he came to Seattle to teach English at the UW, Brewster has founded and led several organizations: Seattle Weekly, Sasquatch Books, Seattle Camerata, the Mark Tobey Pub, and Town Hall Seattle. This Fall, Brewster is stepping down as executive director of Town Hall to write a book about Seattle's recent history. Brewster was recently named "Citizen of the Year" by the Municipal League.

Peter F. Donnelly, Tour de Force

Peter F. Donnelly arrived in Seattle in 1964 as a Ford Foundation Intern assigned for one year to the Seattle Repertory Theatre when the region's cultural landscape was sparse. The Rep was in its infancy and the city was emerging from the success of the 1962 World's Fair. That one year turned into 40 years spent working in the North West Arts Community, a portion of it as head of the Seattle Rep and the balance as President & CEO of Arts Fund. Mr. Donnelly has played an important role in helping to shape the arts scene into a culture known nationally for its variety, quality, and vitality. He has participated in all of the major Arts Initiatives of the past four decades. Mr. Donnelly is vice-chair of Americans for the Arts and serves on the boards of Classic KING-FM 98.1, Frye Art Museum, and the University of Washington School of Drama Advisory Committee. In recognition of his decades of arts advocacy, one of five major collections in Seattle's new Central Library was recently designated as The Peter F. Donnelly Art and Literature Collection.

Sara Liberty Laylin and Adams Elementary School, Innovation in Integrated Arts Education

An educator for more than 29 years, Sara Liberty Laylin has taught preschool, elementary, middle and high schools. Early in her career she worked at the University of Washington training special education teachers. Both her Masters of Ed. and admin. credentials were received at the University of Washington. Currently she is the principal at Adams Elementary School in Ballard where she has created an Integrated Arts curriculum. Teachers at Adams have received arts training from three professional artists; the trainings have been in areas of academics to enhance cognitive development. Teachers are currently using the arts to expand learning opportunities in math, literacy, writing and social studies. All students, including bilingual and special education children, receive visual and performing art instruction. Sara truly believes that the arts will teach humanity and as a result students will be better able to cope with the diversity offered in Seattle. In addition, test scores are rising at Adams Elementary.

Alden Mason, Northwest Legacy: Visual Art

Born in 1919 in Everett, Washington, Alden Mason grew up in the rural Northwest. He decided on art as a career after enrolling in classes at the University of Washington. There, he went from art student to art teacher, and taught until 1981, when he retired to paint full time. Alden gained national recognition with his "Burpee Garden" paintings in the 1970s. Alden Mason's paintings hang in many major museums and collections. In a 2004 artist statement, he wrote, "My paintings are a private world of improvisation, spontaneity, humor and pathos, exaggeration and abandon. The images and shapes are often figurative, organic personal totems which in closer view become highly abstract. They reflect my travels and interest in tribal art and children's' art. Old-fashioned emotional involvement is still my main priority in painting."

The Tsutakawa Family: Gerard, Deems, Marcus and Mayumi: A Generation of Artistic Inspiration & Leadership

The sons and daughter of Ayame Iwasa Tsutakawa and the late sculptor George Tsutakawa have individually made significant contributions to the cultural landscape in the Northwest, and together serve as models and inspiration for a generation of Asian American and other artists and musicians. Each has earned accolades in their chosen discipline, but it's noteworthy that the four come from one family, were all born in Seattle (and attended Franklin High School). Taken together, the family has influenced and supported the artistic growth of Seattle for three decades.

Sculptor Gerard Tsutakawa (b. 1947) is a metal and wood sculptor who has produced commissioned work in many important public spaces in the Northwest, as well as in the United States and shown in local, regional and international exhibitions. Gerard is most well-known locally for "Mitt" (1999) the bronze sculpture at Safeco Field, now perhaps the most photographed sculpture in Seattle. He has had many solo shows at Foster White Gallery. Gerard has also been active as a teacher and community volunteer for years, passing his skill and enthusiasm to students at Pratt Fine Arts Center and Seattle Public Schools. He currently serves as a trustee of the Seattle Art Museum and an advisory board member of the Pratt Center.

Mayumi Tsutakawa (b. 1949) has been active as an arts manager, editor, arts consultant, and curator in Seattle for many years. She currently serves as Arts Participation Manager at the Washington States Arts Commission, supporting projects in low income, rural, ethnic and disabled communities. She curated exhibitions for the Wing Luke Asian Museum, Bumbershoot, and Seafirst Bank Gallery, among others. As manager of the King County Cultural Resources Division in the early 90s, she oversaw a $5 million agency that included arts grantmaking and programming in historic preservation, landmarks, public art and arts education. Mayumi has also edited books and contributed to art catalogues for the University of Washington Press, the Smithsonian Institution, Calyx Books, Seal Press and Young Pine Press. A former journalist at The Seattle Times, she recently received the "Community Voices" award from the International Examiner Newsjournal for her multicultural writing and cultural leadership.

Deems Tsutakawa (b.1952) began his study of classical piano at age 5 but began playing jazz professionally at age 18 and has built a national following. He is largely self-taught but also studied music at the University of Washington and the Cornish College of Art. From his early beginnings at clubs in Seattle's Central District, he soon found himself performing with jazz legends including Kenny G, Roy Ayers, Tony Gable and Julian Priester, as well as opening concerts for Spiro Gyra, Hiroshima and Maynard Ferguson. He founded his own recording label J-Town Records in 1982, and has since released two singles and nine albums of original music. Deems and his ensemble have contributed performances to most major Asian American nonprofit organizations on the West Coast.

Marcus Tsutakawa (b 1954) is both a musician and beloved educator. Conductor of the Garfield High School Symphony Orchestra since 1985, he has led this group on numerous tours to major cities in Japan. They also placed 2nd in the Vienna Youth and Music Festival in 1997, and went on to play concerts in Europe. His Garfield Orchestra has won first place an astounding 13 out of 15 years at the annual Northwest Orchestra Festival held at Mount Hood Community College in Gresham, Oregon. Marcus has been both a volunteer and leader in music education, serving as a private instructor, an adjudicator for regional music festivals, director of the Seattle Junior Symphony since 1999, and instructor at the Arts West Summer Chamber Music Camp since 2000. In addition to performing string bass and recording for decades with his brother, Deems, Marcus has been recognized twice by the KING TV's Follow the Leader Program, honoring regional leaders, and received the Prix de Martell prize recognizing "Champions of Classical Music" in 1992. He also serves on the board of trustees of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra

Reverend Patrinell Wright and Total Experience Gospel Choir, Soul of the Community

Total Experience Gospel Choir was organized in September 1973 at the Mt. Zion Baptist Church of Seattle. The core group represented members of the "Black Experience Gospel Choir" of Roosevelt High School and the Franklin High School Gospel Choir of Seattle. United, the choir became known as "Total Experience Gospel Choir". When the choirs merged, the community's children were also invited to participate. The choir's numbers grew to 108 within the first two months, with the youngest performer age eight. Today the choir's ages range from six to 60. The choir has become known nationally and internationally. Their travels have taken them to 36 contiguous states as well as Hawaii and Alaska - for a total of 38 states. They have performed on four continents and in 22 countries. Total Experience Gospel Choir has more than 150 awards and recognitions locally, statewide, nationally and internationally. They have performed on the same billing with the late Dr. James Cleveland, founder of the 60,000 strong Gospel Music Workshop of America; Quincy Jones; Ray Charles; the Hawkins Family of "Oh Happy Day" fame; Take Six - award winning a capella group; Mormon Tabernacle Choir; Winans; Michael Bolton; Sweet Honey in the Rock; The Judds; Charlie Daniel; Pete Seeger; Steely Dan; Olympia Dukakis; Chuck Mangione; and many others. Total Experience Gospel Choir is a regular performer of the National Anthem at many professional sports events as well as halftime activities. They have been the featured group for seven seasons of Langston Hughes' play "Black Nativity" at Seattle's Intiman Theater. Each performance is SRO for 25 to 30 shows each December. They are the featured voices of many local and some national commercials as well. Founder/director, Pastor Patrinell Wright has also received numerous awards, including Washington State Governors Ethnic Heritage Award for helping to preserve Black gospel music in our state; Women in Communications Award; Jefferson Award; Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award; Mahalia Jackson Community Service Award; and Edwin Pratt Award from the Urban League of Greater Seattle.