2011 AFABW Annual Awards Event (with video and photos)

October 8, 2011 – Hollywood: Music, song and dance were among the featured evening’s entertainment, celebrated in honor of tonight’s 11th annual Artists For A Better World International’s Awards Event and concert in the Garden Pavilion at Celebrity Centre International. The event was the featured highlight of the 11th annual AFABW Arts Festival. (Scroll down for video and photos).

The awards event kicked off with a reception featuring Esprit World Jazz. Band members include “Bozz on bass,” Mark Simonian on piano, Brian Johnson on flute, and Bob Sullivan – Leader of The Way to Happiness Band – on drums.

Fine art was prominently displayed, including the work of Los Angeles Visual Artists (LAVA) and other local artists.

Gino Montesinos was the evening’s MC. Gino is a highly regarded actor whose credits include Bruce Almighty, Collateral, Cellular, The Spongebob Squarepants Movie, Dexter, 24, Y&R, NCIS: Los Angeles and many more. Gino has contributed to society by working towards the rehabilitation of criminals, educating youth on the importance of human rights, and in promoting literacy.

Award-winning vocalist and recording artist Gari Geiselman formally opened the event. She was last year’s recipient of the “Outstanding Young Artist Award.”

AFABW member, Barbara Cordova Oliver, gave a talk on AFABW and the Art Festival. She then performed with the AFABW band for the evening which also included Byron Gore, Bob Sullivan, Steve Spataro and David Brooks. They performed an original song by Barbara, and one by Byron.

The first awardee of the evening was Dean Givens, receiving the Setting a Good Artistic example award. Presenting the award was Denise L. Cook, known as The Oracle, who has a wealth of experience as a published author, motivational speaker, singer & poet. Dean Givens earned his award for creating Icehouse Studios whose purpose is to support young musicians who wanted to record but could not afford to.

He has been organizing showcases here at Celebrity Center International for 10 years. Many of the artists who have appeared in these shows have gone on to remarkable success in the music industry.

Today he is teaching and sharing his skill to hundreds of young aspiring entertainers as he produces entertainment productions throughout Los Angeles.

He has dedicated his life to helping artists prepare for the entertainment industry.

Bayou Bennett, a performance artist and an award winning filmmaker with a Master of Fine Arts, presented a performance encompassing both video art and dance. Bayou has been featured in New York’s “WB11 News” and “So You Think you Can Dance.” She also hosted the Short Film Fest here today at the Art fest. Her unique dance piece was accompanied by guitarist, Jose Abella.

The Celebrity Centre International Host, Salvador Panalba, talked about Celebrity Centre International and its role in helping artists to achieve their career goals. A short video clip was shown from The Way to Happiness DVD – entitled “Flourish and Prosper.”

Taking the stage with an upbeat dance number was a dance company that has been together over 16 years, founded by Shirley Blaxon.

Shirley put together a production company under the name of Miss Shirley Entertainment, A New Beginning – Stir Up Your Gift. This is also the name of her Cable TV show.

Gari Geiselman returned to the stage to present this year’s Outstanding Young Artist Award to a band known as “Impakt.” Ranging from 12 to 16 years of age, they have a passion for music and helping other kids. They were a part of Teen Artist’s Benefit to raise money for the people of Haiti; they’ve been a part of After School All Stars promoting music in schools and were honored to help raise money for First Star Charity helping foster children get the funds for needed legal services in the foster system. Their music is positive, fun and creative, allowing them to reach kids all over the world. The members of their band are: Cory Goldberg, Noellia Goodwin, Dash Kackert, Jake Klorman, Jake Oatey and Oaysis Okubo. The band then performed a couple original songs.

Esperansa Luna was the next awardee and received the Outstanding Contribution as an Artist Award. Ms. Luna is the Founder of Los Angeles Visual Artists (LAVA). The award was presented by Jeff Harman, member and past president of the Renaissance Speakers. Esperansa invited many of the LAVA members on stage to be acknowledged after she received her award.

In 1991 Esperansa founded Los Angeles Visual Artists for the primary purpose of unifying visual, performing, and literary artists, and giving them a platform whereby they could exhibit their work, network, and contribute to their community. LAVA has had numerous group exhibitions in Los Angeles, and has received acknowledgements from The City of Los Angeles; Mayor Tom Bradley; Bienvenidos Children’s Center; The Pre-Grammy Committee of LA; Charlie Awards-Hollywood Arts Council – USAIR; And the Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles.

Taking the stage next was Gabriela Dance Theatre – a vibrant dance company based in Los Angeles that gives choreographers and dancers the opportunity to debut and perform new works. Infusing ballet, modern, contemporary, jazz, and hip-hop, they bring the rich and diverse culture of Los Angeles to audiences throughout the area.

George Alger, President of Artists for a Better World International, gave a brief talk about the group’s purpose of helping others by way of aesthetics.

Denise Cook returned to the stage to perform one of her inspirational songs.

The AFABW Humanitarian Award was given to two members of the Chalk4Peace Group – Founder, John Aaron, and group photographer Jerry Downs.

Presenting the award was Roberta Perry, who currently sits on Toastmasters International’s Board of Directors encompassing 116 countries. She is also the Board Secretary for The Earth Organization.

Jerry accepted the award for Chalk4Peace, a non-profit organization which promotes the arts and advocates for peace by coordinating assemblies of young artists of all ages to draw their vision of peace in public and private spaces with sidewalk chalk as a scheduled worldwide event.

Global Chalk4Peace artists have covered more than 50 miles of sidewalk with their messages of Peace.

Hollis Mahady performed an original song on piano. She is a singer songwriter from New York City who has toured the East coast with her band. She has played at West coast venues such as The Viper Room, The Roxy and The Whiskey A Go Go. Accompanying her on guitar was Steve Spataro. Steve teaches music at the UCLA Lab School and runs the Children’s Musical Theater Program and the Children’s Choral Program in Lennox through a non profit. He is also the vocal coach and arranger for a new LA all girl band called, “Firework.”

The final Award was for Lifetime Achievement Award which was presented to Albert Cleophus Willis by Jeannie Deva. Jeannie is a celebrity voice and performance coach and author, seen on the E! Entertainment and TV Guide Channels and endorsed by engineers and producers of Aerosmith, Fleetwood Mac, Elton John, The Rolling Stones and many others.

Albert Cleophus was awarded for over 40 years of accomplishments, including being recognized as a notable innovative influence of artistic design. In the late seventies, he won two Gold Album Awards as a producer with Motown Records, and was responsible for such hits as “You Can´t Turn Me Off In The Middle Of Turning Me On” by High Energy.

Due to Cleophus’ innovations at Artmasters Studio, they became the nation’s leader in the manufacturing of hand paintings and accessories for the home furnishing industry and over the years Cleophus gained national and international recognition as the leading designer in this field.

After 26 years with Artmasters Studio, Cleophus worked as a freelance designer, fine artist, illustrator, and art publisher.

On permanent exhibition is an oil painting commissioned by Ray Charles in 1971 for the album cover design “Message From The People.” Mr. Charles donated the painting to the Kennedy Library, where it remained for several years. They in turn donated the art to The Martin Luther King Jr. Hospital in Los Angeles, CA where it presently remains in the main lobby.

In 1997, Cleophus was pleased to introduce the first of his Shadow Art, “We are the Custodians of our Culture,” a portrait of the legendary film Actor, Writer, and Director, John Huston. The three-dimensional mixed media wall sculpture was prominently featured at the John Huston Award Dinner and donated to the Artist Rights Foundation by the law offices of Michael B. Frankel and Peter Deyell of American Biograph Films and is on permanent exhibition at the Directors Guild of America on Sunset Boulevard.

The Grand finale of the event was Chicago FootworKINGz group featuring Chicago’s top footworkers. Some of their key credits include: MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew, America’s Got Talent, Ellen Degeneres Really Big Show, and Madonna’s Sticky and Sweet World Tour. They have also had press coverage in the Chicago Tribune, NBC 5 News, and Rolling Stone Magazine and more.

Event Volunteers

Each AFABW Awards Event is the result of numerous volunteers whose efforts are the backbone of the event itself, and without whose help, the event could not occur.

Event Producer – Barbara Cordova Oliver
Video Producer/Director– George Alger
Talent Coordinator – Luba Meltzer
Talent Coordinator Assistant – Jose Abella
Event Director/Script Editor – David Bartlett
Awards Design – Allen Harris
Awardees & Presenters Director – George Alger
Awardees & Presenters Assistant – Jeff Harman
Awards Hostess – Petrina Sharp
Event Set Ups/Sound – Celebrity Centre Showcase Productions
Lights – Marty Buttwinick
Back Stage Manager – Joe Scoglio
Back Stage Assistant – Johnny Bracizewski
Front House Stage Manger – Larry Williams
Frames – Sherman Gallery
Photos – Huguette LeDuc
Video Cameras – Mike Rubio, PJ Severtson
Reception/Hosting – Yvonne Harrington, Jane Gall, Anthea Davies
Catering Provisions – Linda & Bob Neilson
Catering Set-ups -Jennifer Gill

AFABW 2011 Awards Event Photos