Arts Festival – AFABW Int Bestows Honors

Marston Smith with Electric Cello

October 2, 2004 – Hollywood: Artists and community leaders came together to celebrate the fourth anniversary of the Artists For A Better World International Awards Night. The event was held inside the glass and iron Garden Pavilion at Celebrity Center International. The audience was surrounded with exhibitions of outstanding visual artwork. The event highlighted acknowledgments of outstanding artists who have made extraordinary contributions to help better their communities through the application of their art, and featured a variety of upbeat performing artists.

Among those attending the event were celebrity performer, and co-founder of the Annual Pre-Grammy Music Industry Celebration 23 years ago and Founder of the Rose Breast Cancer Society and last years recipient of the “Outstanding Contribution as an Artist” Award, Ms. Carmelita Pittman. Also in attendance were Founder of the Canadian Federation of Poets, Ms. Tracy Repchuk, and President of The Way To Happiness Foundation International, Mr. Lance Miller to name a few.

The evening’s Master of Ceremonies was Roberta Perry and the entertainment was kicked off by dancing trombone player extraordinaire, The Boneman (Jim Moseley), who has performed with such greats as Frank Sinatra, Henry Mancini and the crowd was entranced by celebrity electric cellist Marston Smith who has performed with the likes of Barbara Streisand, Steve Wonder, the Tonight Show, Cirque du Soleil and venues in Las Vegas at the Venetian. The audience was brought to their feet by Bashirrah Creswell (recently from The Lion King on Broadway), dancer Noelle North, the Celebrity Centre Kids on Stage for a Better World, singer songwriter Karie Hillery, Carmelita Pittman, John M, and Margie Maselli.

Washington State resident and arts leader Libby Berry received the highest honor of the evening when she accepted the Artists for a Better World Lifetime Achievement Award, “For a lifetime of dedication towards the creation of a better world through aesthetics. For elevating the understanding and importance of the arts within our culture.”

Libby Berry is the founder and leader of the New Renaissance Academy, School of Living Oils, in Washington State and has personally trained over 400 artists, many of who are now working full-time as artists throughout the world.

She has spent over 25 years teaching her students an awareness of the qualities that make up a great work of art. Her research into the golden ages of art, such as the Renaissance, the Impressionists, and the Hudson River artists led her to discover an entire body of lost technology which she has generously forwarded to the young artists and all students who come to her workshops.

When asked about receiving her award Libby stated, “The acknowledgement is beyond words, and the validation is such a ‘banquet’ for the soul that I highly doubt that I will ever have to worry about starving! A Lifetime Achievement Award may sound like a wonderful ending, but to me it’s a grand new beginning, and a huge validation that I am making a difference. It’s a whole lot of incentive!”

Santa Clarita resident, Mr. Glenn Horton, was presented the coveted Artists For A Better World Humanitarian Artist Award, “For long-term devotion to the promotion of human welfare and the advancement of social reforms, through art, towards the creation of a better world.” He is a longtime creative catalyst and community builder as well as the originator and publisher of The Creative Line magazine, now reaching over 50,000 artists and arts lovers with each issue throughout Southern California. In 2001 Glenn founded the AHA! (Artists Helping Artists) network and is the Director of the Call to Arts! Summits which occur twice a year. Additionally, he is the Founder of the Artists Helping Artists! Round Tables which occur 10 to 12 times a month in arts communities throughout Southern California region including Orange County and San Diego.

Setting a Good Artistic Example Award was presented to Jimi Yamagishi and Linda Galeris. “For setting a good example artists towards the creation of a better world and helping other artists direct their aesthetic inspiration towards improving our world, thereby creating a better future for us all.” Jimi is a 3rd generation “Sansei” and was heavily involved with Nisei Week for many years. He has served the artists community for over 30 years, in the Asian Christian community thru JEMS, as a DJ & sound contractor with High Resolution Productions and now directs The Songwriters Network “SongNet,” founded by Linda Galeris. Under his direction it has established itself as one of the most respected volunteer-run organizations in the music industry, with over 50 thousand members worldwide.

“I am truly humbled & honored by this award. It really belongs to ALL of SongNet, our showcase directors, our Webmaster Thomas Honles & our membership that continues to share their gift with the world around them,” said new award winner Jimi Yamagishi.

Narayan De Vera, received the Outstanding Contribution as an Artist Award, “For outstanding contribution of your art and creative abilities towards the creation of a better world through dedicated service as a community volunteer.” In 1980 he left medicine to become a full-time artist, devoting considerable time as a creative consultant volunteer to the Global Civil Society, which includes social betterment movements, non-governmental organizations and citizens networks across national boundaries.

Narayan is an innovator of eight new art genres which often synthesize art and science. One of them, called Bendo, is a paper sculpture technique for children who then teach their grandparents how to do Bendo to prevent the progression of arthritis. Of particular note, he developed an award to promote the growth and unification of the Global Civil Society movement called, The Heart of Humanity Award. In response to receiving his award Narayan said, “Artists have always been at the leading edge of social change. The Artists for a Better World Awards recognize this historical trend.”

The Spirit of Youth Award went to Oscar R. de Leon de Salcaja, originally from Guatamala “For dedicated service inspiring our youth towards the creation of a better world through aesthetics.” For many years he has contributed his time and resources to working with Los Angeles youth creating murals throughout the city with themes which honor “Peacemakers” and visually reinforce positive values in our communities, including participation in the creation of a 100-foot long historical mural in Highland Park. His murals extend from the Immaculate Conception Church in Los Angeles, to St. Thomas Church in the British Honduras as well as local Los Angeles schools such as Marvin Elementary, and Le Conte Junior High School. Oscar said, “I am not just representing myself, but also the Mayan people. I am happy to do this.”

The youngest recipient of the night was sixteen-year-old Fresno native Ms. Chelsea Alden who received the Artists For A Better World “Outstanding Young Artist” Award, “For personal commitment towards the creation of a better world through aesthetics.” For the past 8 years as a featured singer and dancer in Celebrity Centre International’s Kids On Stage For A Better World she been continuously promoting the message to younger children to always Reach for their goals; Stay in school; And to stay off of drugs. As well she often leads her audiences in the “Drug Free Marshall Pledge” to keep drugs out of their own lives and those they care about. To further the ideals of building a better world, Chelsea also reads passages from The Way To Happiness, which is a common sense guide to better living with 21 practical ideas to live a happier life.

When Mr. Alger, President of Artists for a Better World International, was asked why for the past four years the group has held this awards night acknowledging the artist he replied that he thought it was said best by artist, international author and humanitarian L. Ron Hubbard when he wrote,

“The artist has an enormous role in the enhancement of today’s and the creation of tomorrow’s, reality. He operates in a rank in advance of science as to the necessities and requirements of man. The elevation of a culture can be measured directly by the numbers of its people working in the field of aesthetics.”