THE pARTy! is Creative Washtenaw's signature benefit event celebrating the arts + creative industries in Washtenaw County. The highlight of the event is the presentation of Creative Washtenaw Medals for Arts, Sciences & Humanities to honor and celebrate the extraordinary achievements of those in Washtenaw County who advance and increase awareness of the arts + creative industries in the greater Ann Arbor area and beyond. Medalists make their mark through their accomplishments, leadership and philanthropy setting the standard for excellence and serving as the example for others to follow.
THE pARTy! 2020 is under quarantine. Our awesome members will be the first to know when THE pARTy! is rescheduled, so join us here. Until then, read about our 2019 medalists below or see our full list of medalists here.
The Philanthropic Excellence Medal recognizes those giving of their time, talents and treasures to the arts science and humanities in Washtenaw County and beyond.
Bill and Mary Kinley's legacy as supporters of the arts is long, runs deep and crosses through many Washtenaw County communities. They have given generously, served on boards, mentored staff, volunteered and worked in the trenches. The short list of organizations they have impacted includes: the Riverside Art Center; The Ark; Ann Arbor Hands-on Museum; Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, The Original; and the Ann Arbor Summer Festival, to name a few. Even the work of the business owned and operated by Bill, Praxis Properties (formerly Phoenix Construction), crosses into the creative industries touching historic preservation and restoration. The example of community leadership set by the Kinleys is influencing the next generation as their children are already following in their path.
The Outstanding Service Medal recognizes outstanding leadership and significant contributions made to further the fields of the arts, sciences and humanities in Washtenaw County, statewide, nationally and/or internationally.
Aaron P. and Afa S. Dworkin are an arts power couple. They have built an international reputation as arts-focused social entrepreneurs, including as pioneering leaders advocating for diversity, equity and inclusion in the performing arts and in arts leadership.
Afa S. Dworkin is a cross-sector strategist driving national programming that promotes diversity in classical music. She currently serves as president and artistic director of the Sphinx Organization, the nation's leading organization transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts. She is one of Musical America's Top 30 Influencers and Detroit Crain's 40 Under 40.
Aaron P. Dworkin is the founder of The Sphinx Organization, is a 2005 MacArthur Fellow, a member of National Council on the Arts and is the former dean of and a current professor at the University of Michigan's School of Music, Theatre & Dance. The Dworkins received the Kennedy Center's "Citizen Artist Award" recognizing leaders who present and produce the arts in their communities and deepen the effect of the arts and arts education in a demonstrated, transformational way at the local, state or national level.
The Lifetime Achievement Medal is presented in recognition of outstanding and sustained artistic and creative accomplishments within the arts, sciences and/or humanities receiving national and or international acclaim.
Together, they are the duo Bolcom & Morris, recording 25 albums and delighting audiences across the world performing songs from the ragtime era to the end of the 20th century. They are known as generous creative collaborators and, as faculty at the University of Michigan's School of Music, Theatre & Dance, have mentored the next generation of musicians and performers.
William (Bill) Bolcom is a composer of concertos, sonatas, operas, symphonies, cabaret songs and much more. National Medal of the Arts, Pulitzer Prize, Grammy Award, Composer of the Year are but a few of the accolades presented to him over the course of his career. He served on the faculty of the University of Michigan's School of Music, Theatre & Dance as the Ross Lee Finney Distinguished University Professor of Composition for 35 years.
Joan Morris is a chanteuse, a mezzo-soprano who has performed on stages and in cabarets across the world as she "projects not just a song, but the character singing it, and gives that character her own irresistibly funny and winning personality," according to the Chicago Tribune. Her book Let Me Sing and I'm Happy: The Memoir and Handbook of a Singing Actress has just been released by Pendragon Press. Morris writes "For forty years I've been privileged to sing the greatest songs from our American musical theater history - Kern, Berlin, Gershwin, Porter, and Rodgers and Hart. I was fortunate to find a musical partner, William Bolcom, who felt the same way, who helped me illuminate and bring to life the history and drama in each song. Our approach gained us entry into the serious-music concert world. It helped us, in Schiller's words, to '…unite that which fashion had sternly parted.'" Morris taught voice and musical theater at the University of Michigan from 1981 - 2009.