October 9, 2010 – Hollywood: Artists For A Better World International celebrated its 10th annual arts festival this weekend, topped off with tonight’s 10th annual Awards Event in the Garden Pavilion at Celebrity Centre International. The event highlighted visual arts as well as music, singing and dancing in honor of this year’s AFABW Int awardees.
The event acknowledges artists who are using their art to make a difference in society, and who contribute to social betterment programs.
In essence, AFABW Int, and the nature of the awards event itself, are about artists helping others by way of aesthetics.
Five award presentations were the foundation of the event amidst performances by a diversity of talented artists who uplifted the audience with a mood of inspiration. The Garden Pavilion was graced with the fine art of festival participants and the backdrop of the stage featured the work of a few of the award recipients.
Mark Romero performed an acoustic guitar set as part of the reception.
Kicking off the event itself was AFABW member, Barbara Cordova Oliver, and AFABW Int President, George Alger, who spoke about the group’s purpose and accomplishments over the last 10 years, including the production of AFABW compilation poetry and short story books, music CDs and other properties to recognize and feature global “better world” artists.
MCing the event was international speaker and motivator, TRACY REPCHUK, bestselling author of 31 Days to Millionaire Marketing Miracles, an award winning entrepreneur, writer, president and founder of the Canadian Federation of Poets, and the #1 Woman Speaker in the World for Internet Marketing.
Toastmaster and Citizens Commission on Human Rights Volunteer, JO LAURICELLA, presented the Outstanding Young artist award to GARI GEISELMAN – a 13 year old singer, Ford model and actress. Gari has already accomplished 275 performances at her young age and dedicates herself to performing benefits and charity concerts, including environmental fundraisers and performances at the Motion Picture and Television home, in Calabasas, CA. Among her favorite charities are Animal Rescue organizations, which are the recipients of her donated proceeds from her CD sales.
Young tap dancer, and another talented 13 year old, ROBERT TERRY got the performances off in high gear with an energetic dance performance. He has been tap dancing since he was 4 and is a champion dancer who will be representing the United States at the Tap World Finals in Riesa, Germany in December. He danced to Who’s Bad, a Michael Jackson medley, and Minneapolis Mix, a Prince medley
The CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY CHOIR, led by Director Marcia Powell, performed two songs. The choir has performed at numerous interfaith and local events at such places as the Anaheim Convention Center, the Paladium, Universal Amphitheater and Dorothy Chandler Pavilion for the LA County Christmas Music Festival, which has been broadcast on PBS TV to millions. They were also a featured choir on the Neil Diamond Christmas Special, which aired on HBO.
CARMELITA PITTMAN, a previous AFABW award recipient and founder of The Rose Breast Cancer Society presented the HUMANITARIAN AWARD to LISA BLUMENFELD. Lisa is a professional sports photographer who has covered such events such as the Olympic Games, NBA Playoffs and Finals, Major League Baseball World Series and Allstar games. Lisa also puts her photography to use through her non-profit organization called Project Goodlife formed after a trip to Tanzania and family safari where she visited some local orphanages and witnessed the plight and challenges faced by the children. She has had fundraisers featuring her images from Africa whereby all of the proceeds are being contributed to Project Goodlife.
MARSTON SMITH, outfitted in an armor vest, added a mesmerizing touch to the awards event with his electric cello performance. Witnessing Marston on stage has been described as Cirque du Soleil meets Led Zeppelin. He has performed all over the world for Google, NFL, PGA, Disney and he has opened for the B52’s and Michael Buble. His performance and his 20 CDs and DVDs are a tribute to his artistry and passion.
THE ARTISTS FOR A BETTER WORLD BAND includes a variety of musicians who come together for various events. The Awards event band featured Johnnie Ferro on guitar, Michelle Krell, on keyboards, Peter Kinne on Bass, Kate Torres on Violin, and AFABW member Barbara Cordova Oliver who performed a set of her original songs.
ERIC SHERMAN, award winning producer and director and consultant to Universal Studios, Columbia Pictures and Paramount presented the SPIRIT OF YOUTH AWARD to GARY ALLEGRETTO. Gary is a world-class harmonica player and recording artist, receiving multiple Grammy considerations. He started Harmonikids, a non-profit organization that provides music therapy to special needs children. Since 1985 Gary has been actively providing the therapeutic healing power of teaching music to kids with incredible physical and emotional challenges here in the US and worldwide. His missions have included those traumatized by such natural disasters as the tsunami in Indonesia, Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana and the recent earthquake in Port Au Prince, Haiti. A representation of Gary’s accomplishments were featured by way of a heartwarming video of some of his outstanding work in Haiti with children who are not only earthquake survivors, but many who are also victims of child slavery.
THE ST. GENEVIEVE BOYS DANCE TEAM led by Coach DANIELLE BROWN excited the crowd with their tightly choreographed, high-energy performance. They are an award winning, competitive hip hop dance team from Panorama City.
ROBERTA PERRY is a Distinguished Toastmaster and co-founder of the Renaissance Speakers Toastmasters club at Celebrity Centre and is a business consultant in the Leisure Entertainment industry. She presented the SETTING A GOOD ARTISTIC EXAMPLE AWARD TO ALEJANDRO MARTINEZ-PENA. Alejandro has participated in numerous art exhibitions throughout the world. Over the course of his career, he has donated his artwork to diverse charity and scholarship programs to benefit groups such as: four Universities in Thailand; International Children’s Cancer Foundation; Mexican Red Cross; Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation; US Hispanic Dental Association; the Childrens Hospital of Las Californias, Tijuana, Mexico; Rotary International Foundation; Museum of Latin American Art and more.
AWARD WINNER GARI GEISELMAN returned to the stage to deliver an exceptional performance of the song “Anyway,” by Martina McBride.
This year’s presenter of the LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD was JOE CASSINI, a former recipient of the award. Joe is an award winning Director and Choreographer who has worked with numerous celebrities that include Ann Margaret, Sunny and Cher, Raquel Welch, Tom Jones, Bobby Darren, Rudolph Nuria, and Florence Henderson to name a few. He has also worked on many well know TV shows. Though they are both from completely different fields of the arts, both Joe and this years winner, PATRICK WHELAN both believe that there is nothing that can’t be done to achieve one’s artistic dream. PATRICK has been active in the arts community since 1989. He is a 1991 honors graduate of the Laguna College of Art and Design. A passionate and devoted artist, Patrick began illustrating for magazines while a student and continued to expand his career with clients that included: Random House, Bantam-Doubleday-Dell, Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, Tor Books, A&E Television and many others. Among Mr. Whelan’s hundreds of illustrations are a dozen Nancy Drew book covers. Additionally, his work is featured in volumes 3 and 13 of the Spectrum Book of Fantastic Art.
His exquisitely crafted original oils and limited edition prints are enjoyed in private collections across the United States and Europe. Whelan Galleries introduces a collector’s edition set of prints featuring art purchased by its most famous client – Michael Jackson. All of the net profit gets donated to the “Make A Wish Foundation” charity in honor of the entertainer’s own immense contributions to art and to culture, and also to help carry on the spirit of his efforts towards easing the pain and suffering of children from around the globe.
The evening concluded with a performance by international vocalist and recording artist JEANNIE DEVA, who is also a Vocal Coach endorsed by engineers and producers of the Rolling Stones, Elton John and Amy Winehouse. She left the audience with a message to think about as she sang “Proud,” written by Heather Small, with the refrain, “What have you done today to make your feel proud?”
Awardee, Gary Allegretto, summed up the purpose of the event by writing, “Thanks again for honoring me with the Artists For A Better World – Spirit of Youth Award. It is the first time an organization has recognized me with an award for my work. Decades of helping children through my music has given me joy, strength, direction, a sense of accomplishment, and a vehicle to make a difference. As we know, this is the true reward. However, by awarding artists for such endeavors you give them welcome encouragement and the opportunity to share their vision with others to inspire youth. I am proud to receive your gracious recognition.”
Attendee, Shantrel Matthews noted, “I loved the performers. It made me more aware of how people in the community are making a big difference around the world.”
Matt Tones was in attendance and remarked about the theme of the show: “Very diverse, very positive messages.”
Attendee, Bryan Dahl, concisely acknowledged the performances and art displays by stating, “Wonderful talent here today.”
Special thanks to the following for helping in the production of the 10th Annual AFABW Awards Event and Concert:
Barbara Cordova Oliver – Producer
George Alger – Awards Presentation Director
David Bartlett – Director
Allen Harris – Awards Design
Petrina Sharp – Awards Hostess
Artists Bookings and Displays: David Repchuk
Liz Harding – Stage Manager
Johnnie Ferro – Stage Manager Assistant
Larry Williams – Stage Assistant
Marty Buttwinick – Stage Assistant
Jasmine Harding – Talent Assistance
Yvonne Harrington – Reception and Hosting
Jane Gall – Reception and Hosting
Michelle Krell – Reception and Hosting
Lauren Perreau – Reception and Hosting
Chris Barclay – Food Set-Ups
Jennifer Gill – Food Set-Ups
Reinhard Schulte – Chief Videographer
PJ Severtson – Videogaphy
Ernesto Flores – Photography
Julien Mueley – Tech and set ups
Ken Hall –Tech and set ups
Promotional Video Sponsor – SkyworksMarketing.com
Artists For A Better World International has a purpose to raise the awareness of worldwide artists about using their creative powers to benefit mankind by leading the way to a better world and by supporting like-minded public benefit organizations that advocate humanitarian benevolence.
The group accomplishes its aims by cultivating international artistic participation in constructive, inspirational and creative projects as well as working hand-in-hand with other community advancement organizations.
AFABW int activities include art and social betterment projects and/or events conceived to foster heightened awareness with and through art and artists, to help build a better world through aesthetics.