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April, 23 2008 - 27th Annual 2008 Governor's Arts Awards Dinner

Where: Arizona Biltmore

When: April 23, 2008

Time: 5:30 PM

Ticket Prices: $200

Beneficiary: Arizona Citizens for the Arts

Host(s): Arizona Lottery, Target, SRP, Wells Fargo Arizona, Blue Cross/Blue Shield Arizona, Mr. Jerry Appell

Mistress of Ceremonies: Robin Sewell, Arizona Highways Television

Co-Chair(s): Branda Sperduti (chair); Range Shaw (vice chair)

Executive Director: Brenda Sperduti

Committee Members: Brenda Sperduti (chair), Range Shaw (vice chair), Beth Bank, Michael Barnard, Dick Bowers, Bob Booker, Jaime Dempsey, Rusty Foley, Joel Hiller, Natalie Lang, Nancy Lutz, Anshantia Oso, Michelle Peralta, Patrick Schweiss, Bill Sheppard, Mollie Trivers

Staff: Anshantia Oso, Business Manager

Welcome: Catherine "Rusty" Foley, president Arizona Citizens for the Arts

Entertainment: Metropolitan Youth Symphony Fiddlers (Lew Felton, director); South Mountain High School Jazz Ensemble (Ken Collins, director)

Music: Vicki Rae Jordan, Diana Lee, Dennis Rowland, J. David Sloan with "The Jazz Experience" band (Greg Warner/Chris Gough/Felix Sainz/Ted Belledin--Michael Barnard, director)

Quote of the evening: "Nothing will be more important to our success than our ability to innovate, to wonder then imagine; to invent, then to build." (Governor Janet Napolitano)

Menu: Arizona Baby Greens, Olive Chevre Mousse w Crostini, Roasted Pepper and Artichoke Relish, Vine Ripe Tomato, Tomato Vinaigrette; Sonoran Rubbed Petite Filet Mignon, Pasilla Glazed Pacific Prawns, Roasted Corn and Potato Cake, Roasted Peppers, Smoked Tomato Marbles, Pinot Glace; Dried Cherry Flaxseed, Rye, and French Country Rolls; Strawberry Tiramisu Cake, Chocolate Paint Brush, Fresh Berries, Mango, Raspberry, Kiwi Coulis, Painted Plate and Dark Chocolate Chard Garnish

Attendance: 900

Attire: Evening Attire, Business Formal or Cocktail Attire

Information: Brenda Sperduti 602-253-6535

Board of Directors: ARIZONA COMMISSION ON THE ARTS: Virginia E. Cardenas (chair), Victoria Cummiskey (vice chair), Lisa Barnes, Shirley Chann, Brooke Davis, Darryl B. Dobras, Stella Pope Duarte, Judith Evans, Alison Hughes, Natalie S. Lang, Diane Prescott, Danita Jalani Rios, F. William Sheppard, Judy Walsh, Robert C. Booker (executive director)

Blacktie Photos by: Jaimee Anderson

 Darryl B. Dobras, Tim Toothman, Bill Sheppard
Darryl B. Dobras, Tim Toothman, Bill Sheppard
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Governor's Arts Awards Dinner Names Dennis Kavanaugh 2008 Winner of Shelley Award for Advocacy, Support of the Arts

By Myra Richman

Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano presented the 3rd annual Shelley Award to recipient Dennis Kavanaugh at the 27th Annual Governors Arts Awards Dinner, Wednesday, April 23 at the Arizona Biltmore.  Kavanaugh was recently re-elected to the Mesa City Council in District 3.

Kavanaugh was selected for the award, named after former Arizona Commission on the Arts Executive Director Shelley Cohn, by the executive committee of the Arizona Citizens for the Arts based upon a nomination by Gerry Fathauer, founding director of the Mesa Arts Center. Kavanaugh, a partner in the firm Day Kavanaugh, P.C, served on the city council, has supported the arts in the Valley for more than two decades.

As the chair of Mesa Museum and Cultural Affairs Advisory Board and later as a councilmember, he helped shape Mesas public art program and grant policies. He was a key advocate of the new Mesa Arts Center, serving for more than six years on its Architect Selection and Design Committee. He also served on the Arizona Museum for Youth Friends board, was a founding board member and vice-chair of the Southwest Shakespeare Company board and chaired the Arizona Commission on the Arts, moving meetings to locations outside Phoenix to encourage broader access.

On a national level, he has been a member of the National Association of State Arts Assemblies board since 2005 and has supported efforts to increase federal funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. He has chaired the Mesa Historical Society and the Mesa Symphony, earning its Executive Director Community Service Award in 1999 and served as vice-chair of the Southwest Museum Foundation.
Currently, he chairs the Mesa Arts Center Foundation board, the development committee of the National Association of State Arts Assemblies, the Banner Desert Hospital Community Hospital Advisory Board and is vice-president of the East Valley Child Crisis Center Board.

"Dennis, like Shelley Cohn and last year's honoree, Sam Campana, is an arts leader," said Brenda Sperduti, executive director of Arizona Citizens for the Arts, which organized the Governors Arts Awards with the Arizona Commission on the Arts. "As an advocate, he has championed a broader vision and wider participation and has shaped public policy strategically and innovatively. He represents what this award reflects."

The committee that selected Kavanaugh for the Shelley Award included: Jessica Andrews, Sam Campana, Shelley Cohn, Jim Copenhaver, Dale Erquiaga, Gerry Fathauer, Rusty Foley, Bill Sheppard and Janice Sweeter.

Awards were presented to honorees in five categories: Artist- A living Arizona artist active in the field of literature, visual arts, performing arts, folk arts, architecture, design or film; Individual- A living Arizona individual who has made a significant impact on the arts in Arizona, through philanthropy, leadership and/or direct involvement; Corporation-A business that has made a significant contribution to the support of the arts in Arizona (government agencies not eligible); Community- An outstanding arts-based community program or project by an Arizona organization or institution (schools/ school districts not eligible).; Arts in Education- A living Arizona individual or organization for an outstanding contribution to arts in education.

The Governors Arts Award selection committee included: Elayne Achilles, David Aguirre, Will Bruder, Victoria Cummiskey, Karen Emery, Rusty Foley, Bill Holmes, Mario Romero, and Nancy Wolter.

For additional information about the Governors Arts Awards, visit or


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