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Announcing The APAP Honors 2024 Awardees

APAP Honors 2022 logo
The APAP Honors celebrates and recognizes trailblazers and visionaries of the performing arts field. For more than six decades, the coveted awards were presented annually as part of the APAP Awards Ceremony traditionally held at the annual APAP|NYC conference.

The APAP Awards Ceremony (now The APAP Honors) special event returns live to New York City in 2024 on Monday, January 15 at 9:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. as a breakfast event. Colleagues from across the performing arts will celebrate those who have made an impact on the field and those who are shaping the future.

APAP|NYC 2024 conference attendees are invited to join us as we present APAP awards, including the inaugural Arts Champion Award and Spark of Change Award! 

Also at The APAP Honors, NAPAMA (North American Performing Arts Managers and Agents) and CIPA (Creative Independent Producers Alliance) will each celebrate their own awardees, and APAP will recognize the winner of the Halsey & Alice North Board Alumni Award that is announced in an earlier ceremony.

The APAP Honors is sponsored by IMG Artists. Learn more about APAP event sponsorship here.

The Award of Merit

Terence Blanchard

Terence Blanchard has been a consistent artistic force for making powerful musical statements concerning painful American tragedies – past and present. He stands tall as one of jazz’s most-esteemed trumpeters and defies expectations by creating a spectrum of artistic pursuits.

An NEA Jazz Master, six-time Grammy Winner, twice Oscar-nominated and Emmy-nominated film composer, Blanchard becomes only the second African-American composer to be nominated twice in the original score category at the 2022 Academy Awards, duplicating Quincy Jones’ feat from 1967’s "In Cold Blood" and 1985’s "The Color Purple".

Blanchard is also heralded as a two-time opera composer whose "Fire Shut Up in My Bones", is based on the memoir of celebrated writer and New York Times columnist Charles Blow. The Metropolitan Opera premiered "Fire Shut Up in My Bones" on September 27, 2021, to open their 2021-22 season in New York, making it the first opera composed by an African-American composer to premiere at the Met. The New York Times labeled Blanchard’s opera “inspiring,” “subtly powerful” and “a bold affecting adaptation of Charles Blow’s work.” Of the historical moment, Blanchard said, “I don’t want to be a token, but a turnkey.”

But there is a center of gravity. It’s Blanchard’s beautiful, provocative, inspiring jazz recordings that undergird all these projects. The same holds true now as it did early in his career in 1994 when he told DownBeat: “Writing for film is fun, but nothing can beat being a jazz musician, playing a club, playing a concert.”

From his expansive work composing the scores for over 50 film projects over three decades, ranging from the Spike Lee documentary "When the Levees Broke" to Gina Prince Bythewood and Viola Davis’ "The Woman King" and Apple TV’s "Louis Armstrong’s Black & Blue".

In his thirtieth year as a recording leader, Blanchard delivers "Absence", a collaboration with his longtime E-Collective band and the acclaimed Turtle Island Quartet which received Grammy nominations in 2021 for Best Instrumental Jazz Album and Best Improvised Jazz Solo for Blanchard. Absence started out as a project to show gratitude to Wayne Shorter. “I knew that Wayne wasn’t feeling well at the time, so I wanted to honor him to let him know how much he has meant to me. When you look at my own writing, you can see how much I’ve learned from Wayne."

Regarding his consistent attachment to artistic works of conscience, Blanchard confesses, “You get to a certain age when you ask, ‘Who’s going to stand up and speak out for us?’ Then you look around and realize that the James Baldwins, Muhammad Alis and Dr. Kings are no longer here...and begin to understand that it falls on you. I’m not trying to say I’m here to try to correct the whole thing, I’m just trying to speak the truth.” In that regard, he cites unimpeachable inspirations. “Max Roach with his Freedom Now Suite, John Coltrane playing Alabama, even Louis Armstrong talking about what was going on with his people any time he was interviewed. Herbie Hancock & Wayne Shorter who live by their Buddhist philosophy and try to expand the conscience of their communities. I’m standing on all their shoulders. How dare I come through this life having had the blessing of meeting those men and not take away any of that? Like anybody else, I’d like to play feel good party music but sometimes my music is about the reality of where we are.”

Fan Taylor Distinguished Service Award

Lisa Booth

(1949-2023) Raised in Sewickley, PA, Lisa Booth inadvertently launched a life-long career in the performing arts the summer after she earned a B.A. in Sociology from Connecticut College in 1971, when she took a job at the box office for the American Dance Festival. Moving to New York City, she joined Charles Reinhart Management, ADF’s contracted director, where she produced the festival for 10 years, including managing its move to Durham, NC. In 1981, looking for new challenges, she resigned her position as V.P and Administrative Director of ADF and began taking on free-lance projects.

Lisa Booth established Lisa Booth Management, Inc. (LBMI) in 1983 as a managerial home for NYC-based dance makers. When Deirdre Valente joined in 1984 to handle engagements, Lisa determined to organize a national tour of the epic Butoh company Dai Rakuda Kan, Akaji Maro’s “Great Camel Battleship.” Realizing that 1987 tour took three years; it set in motion a decades-long conversation and founded a partnership. Until her death in April 2023, Lisa and Deirdre co-led LBMI’s activities for 39 years.

Throughout her career, Lisa served as a consultant and panelist for U.S. and foreign government agencies, cultural offices, and private foundations. She taught Marketing the Arts at SUNY Purchase. Lisa served on the board of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (now the Association of Performing Arts Professionals) from 2001- 2010 and was the first manager to serve as board chair (2006-2009). Prior to joining the board, she was co-chair of APAP’s 1999 national conference. In recognition of her service, Lisa was awarded APAP’s Halsey and Alice North Board Alumni Award in 2015.

Perceptive, trusted, empathetic, and grounded, Lisa valued fair play and stewardship. She was the constant lodestar for her family and friends, and a champion of performing artists and colleagues around the globe whose careers have flourished under her advocacy and care.

Deirdre Valente

A lapsed violinist, theater director, and dramaturg, Deirdre Valente joined Lisa Booth Management in January 1984 ‘in between gigs,’ and became a full partner in 1987. 

In addition to her work at LBMI, as a writer and practitioner, Deirdre consults on and teaches non-profit and commercial producing, tour management, fiscal analysis and grantsmanship, strategic planning, and contextual marketing and promotion. She serves on the board of Ping Chong and Company. A member of Actors’ Equity Association, prior to joining Lisa Booth Management she stage managed Broadway shows and served as Company and Production Manager for international touring productions in opera and theater. She is a 1983 alumna of Vassar College.

William Dawson Award for Programmatic Excellence

Shanta Thake

Shanta Thake is the Ehrenkranz Chief Artistic Officer at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, where she spearheads all artistic programming activities. Since her start in the fall of 2021, Shanta has been key to Lincoln Center's ongoing efforts to ensure the arts are central to the civic life of the city—welcoming new and returning audiences, championing genres historically underrepresented on campus, and ushering in accessible ticket models to help break down cost barriers.

Known for her work across disciplines, Shanta leads a team of curators to bring exciting emerging and established artists to Lincoln Center’s indoor and outdoor stages, and spearheads multi-genre collaborations with Lincoln Center’s resident organizations.

Prior to Lincoln Center, Shanta was Associate Artistic Director/Director of Artistic Programs at The Public Theater, overseeing the growth and development of Public Works, Mobile Unit, Under the Radar, Joe’s Pub, The Shakespeare Initiative, and Public Forum. Previously, she spent 10 years as the Director of Joe’s Pub, the intimate cabaret venue which hosts over 700 shows annually.

Shanta is also the co-director of globalFEST, North America’s world music festival, and in this role received the William Dawson award for Programmatic Excellence. She received a BA in theater and a degree in management from Indiana University, and currently lives in Brooklyn.

Sidney R. Yates Advocacy Award

Randy Cohen

Randy Cohen is Vice President of Research at Americans for the Arts—the national advocacy organization for the arts—where he has been empowering arts advocates since 1991. Cohen is known for balancing rigorous research methods with accessible and actionable results. 

His work at Americans for the Arts has provided new perspectives on the nonprofit arts. He recently published "Arts & Economic Prosperity 6: The Economic Impact of Nonprofit Arts & Culture Organizations and their Audiences" and Americans Speak Out About the Arts in 2023", a national public opinion study about the arts. Randy led the development of The National Arts Index, the annual measure of the health and vitality of arts in the U.S. and the National Arts Policy Roundtable, an annual convening of leaders who focus on the advancement of American culture—launched in partnership with Robert Redford and the Sundance Institute. 

His "10 Reasons to Support the Arts" blog received the Gold Award from the Association of Media & Publishing—their top honor for best blog post of the year. A sought-after speaker, Randy has given speeches in all 50 states, and regularly appears in the news media—including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and on C-SPAN, CNN, CNBC, and NPR.

The Arts Champion Award

John and Rosemary Brown

John W. Brown and Rosemary Kopel Brown exemplify the transformative impact of hard work, intelligence, education, and philanthropy.

John's journey began on a family farm, leading him to a pre-engineering program at Freed-Hardeman University. He then earned a chemical engineering degree from Auburn University in 1957. His career in process engineering spanned manufacturing and defense before a pivotal role at Squibb. Guiding the struggling Edward Weck & Company—purchased by Squibb in 1971— Brown's leadership doubled sales and tripled profits in five years. In 1976, he became president of Stryker Corp., orchestrating its successful public offering in 1979. Under his stewardship, Stryker's annual sales surged from $17 million in 1976 to $6.7 billion in 2009 at the time of his retirement as chairman.

Rosemary, also an Auburn graduate, earned her chemistry degree in 1957. A passionate educator, she taught mathematics for 30 distinguished years, impacting students in New Jersey, Kalamazoo, and beyond. Rosemary's commitment to education earned her multiple Excellence in Education awards and an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Freed-Hardeman University in 1999. Recognized for her achievements, she became an Eckerd Corporation Salute to Women Honoree and an honorary member of the Freed-Hardeman University Board of Trustees.

The Browns, both recipients of an honorary doctorate of science from Auburn University in 2017, have devoted their lives to philanthropy. Rosemary's community service includes roles on numerous boards, such as the Kalamazoo College Board and the Atlanta Opera Board. John's service leadership includes Junior Achievement and boards such as Kalamazoo College and Auburn University Foundation.

Deeply committed to Auburn University, the Browns made history in 2015 with the university's largest-ever gift to create the Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center, along with the Brown-Kopel Engineering Student Achievement Center in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, and the Rosemary Kopel Brown Eminent Scholars Chair in the College of Sciences and Mathematics.

Beyond financial contributions, their involvement in various community boards and educational initiatives reflects a lifelong dedication to enriching the lives of others. John and Rosemary Brown's inspiring legacy is etched not only in corporate success but also in their enduring impact on education, community service, and philanthropy.

The Spark of Change Award

Ruby Morales

Ruby Morales is committed to equity, facilitating life-affirming spaces, and cultivating community relationships rooted in reciprocity, trust, and love through life and her artmaking. She’s a dance artivist investigating culturally informed teaching methods, circular leadership models, and her relationship with movement as a bgirl and Mexican style cumbia. 

After receiving a BFA from Arizona State University she completed Urban Bush Women's Summer Leadership Institute, The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond's Undoing Racism Training, and is continuously training in breaking and learning about hip hop philosophy/theory. She is currently touring with internationally renowned creative Liz Lerman performing her most recent work "Wicked Bodies", CONTRA-TIEMPO Activist Dance Theater, and Tucson, AZ based choreographer Yvonne Montoya. 

She creates work locally in Arizona and recently presented and toured her own evening length show, Breaking Pachanga as part of her Arts in the Park partnership with the City of Tempe. She is CONTRA-TIEMPO’s Director of Development and co-founder of The Pachanga Collective. As recognition for her local leadership she received the 2023 Performing Artist Mayor’s Arts award. 

She is always continuing to learn and lead as a previous B.A.C. Fellowship Mentor, a 2021 National Association of Latino Arts and Culture Advocacy Leadership Fellow, a 2021 Intercultural Leadership Institute Fellow, 2023 NALAC Leadership Institute Fellow, and 2023 Critical Response Process Certification Program participant. Locally, she has been awarded a Research and Development Grant and Professional Development Grant from the AZ Commission on the Arts, The Artist Forward Fund from Artlink, a Phoenix Project Support Grant, and a Phoenix Stabilization Grant.

CIPA Award

Claudia Norman

2024 recipient of the Award for Outstanding Achievement in Creative Production

Claudia Norman is an award winner multi-lingual creative producer, cultural consultant and arts manager based in New York City with over 25 years of experience developing, producing, and executing international projects in the performing arts. Served as project director for The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs/ DCLA’s City Artist Corp initiative. Producer of Yo-Yo Ma’s The Bach Project/Days of Action in Mexico City. Co-producer and curator of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Rebel Spirit Series. Under her own company, Claudia Norman Management, produced the Farewell Concert at Carnegie Hall for Chavela Vargas. Since 2019, she has been producing, managing and touring the work of Odissi dancer/choreographer/educator Bijayini Satpathy. For the past 20 years, she has been Curator and co-producer of the “La Casita” series with Lincoln Center Summer of the City Festival, among other festivals in the United States and Latin America.

Claudia has been the Executive Creative Producer and Founder of the annual Celebrate Mexico Now Festival in venues across NYC since 2004, and also Founder of Claudia Norman Management LLC, a full- service arts and entertainment company.

Skilled in Nonprofit Organizations, Curatorial, Performing Arts, Spoken Word, Visual Arts, Film, International Festival Production and Event Management. Strong business development professional, raised and educated in Mexico City, with B.A. in Latin American Studies from Universidad Auto?noma de Me?xico and a certificate in Arts Administration from New York University. She is a Faculty member at the New School.
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