Artists Embassy Ambassadorial Arts Appreciation Awards were presented in 2017 to organizations throughout the San Francisco Bay Area who promote the concepts of intercultural understanding and peace through the universal language of the arts, which is the purpose of AEI.
Recipients were Alameda Island Poets, Bay Area Poets Coalition, Ina Coolbrith Circle, Rakkasah Music and Dance Festivals, and the Redwood Empire Chinese Association.
Cathy Dana, Poet Laureate of Alameda and President of Alameda Island Poets accepts the award from Natica Angilly.
Four teen poets from Alameda Learning Center plus Poet Amy Estrada joined Cathy in accepting the award for Alameda Island Poets.
John Rowe and Jan Dederick accepted the award for Bay Area Poets Coalition.
Shirley Shukriya DeVine (R) and her husband, Michael DeVine acknowledged the award from their seats. Poet Johanna Ely, Benicia, CA, (C) sat in the row in front of them.
Richard Angilly accepted for Ina Coolbrith Circle. Richard is ICC president.
Joseph Hickman, Ellen Hickman, Maya Ibitz and Ruth Hickman accepted for the Redwood Empire Chinese Association. Ruth's husband, Bob, co-leader of the RECA Youth Group, was the DPF photographer taking this photo.
Constantina Clark, Greens Fork, IN, read her prize winning poem, "The God Who Dances." Constantina entered her poems while in Abu Dabi, United Arab Republics.
"The God Who Dances" by Constantina Clark as performed by the Poetic Dance Theater Company.
Wanda Ingmire depicts blowing winds of the desert with her stardust veils.
Constantina Clark takes her on stage bow with the dancers.
Katharine Wilson, San Jose, CA, read her prize winning "Shen Yun Dancers."
Jan Dederick, El Cerrito, CA, read her "Garden as Warden," a villanelle.
Gillie Haynes, Silver Spring, MD, read her prize winning poem "Reach for Me." Usually, this poem would not have been danced since it was not a grand prize winner. However, Ronda Hollie, head of the dance troupe Jeed, loved this poem. Jeed is a praise dance group. They asked for special permission to use this poem in their act. Thank you Jeed and Gillie Haynes for this special treat.
Gillie Haynes, Silver Spring, MD, wrote "Reach For Me," danced by Jeed.
Ronda Hollie, artistic director of Jeed, performing Gillie Haynes' "Reach for Me."
Gillie Haynes takes an on stage bow with Jeed, including artistic director Ronda Hollie.
Shirley McPhillips, Dumont, NJ, reads her prize winning poem, "Once Upon a Time."
Deborah Schmidt, El Sobrante, CA, read her prize winning poem, "Maya." This poem was written after seeing a photograph by Judy Hardin Cheung in a restaurant. She later asked Judy the name of the 7 year old girl in the photo, and wrote her poem.
Judy Cheung gives an addenda after the reading. Maya, of the poem,now 17 years old, was backstage and would be performing later. Judy invited Deborah back stage at the end of the program so the two could meet.
Richard Angilly reads an excerpt from Natica's new book, "The Art of Awe." The excerpt was by former California Poet Laureate, Al Young, about AEI's founder, Althya Youngman.
Dancers of the Pharoahs performed "Balancing Swords" written by Claire J. Baker.
Balancing Swords, poem by Claire J. Baker, performed by Dancers of the Pharoahs, artisit director Shirley Shukriya DeVine.
John Rowe, El Cerrito, CA, read "Arrival / Departure"
"Avebury Awaiting" was written by Tanya Joyce. The artistic capes were each hand painted by Tanya. The dance was performed by the Poetic Dance Theater Company.
Avebury Awaiting by Tanya Joyce, performed by the Poetic Dance Theater Company. Tanya, in the back, read her poem for the performance.
Amy (Philomena) Estrada, Alameda, CA read her prize winning poem, "Sharing With You."
Cathy Dana, Alameda, CA, read her prize winning poem, ""Song of the Nightingale."
Lilija Valis, Vancouver, BC, Canada, read her prize winning poem, "On the Move."
The Redwood Empire Chinese Association Teen Cultural Dancers performed an original poem by dancer Ellen Hickman, "Water Fairies."
"Water Fairies" by Ellen Hickman was read by her mother, Ruth Hickman.
Lourdes Costales, Alameda, CA wrote the prize winning poem, "Night Sky," read by her sister, Amy Estrada.
Allegra Silberstein, Davis, CA, read her prize winning poem, "Into the Forest."
"Gaia," poem and choreography by Tatseena, performed by Tatseena and the Serpent Sirens.
Kay Renz, Santa Rosa, CA, read "My Master, Survival."
Anne Molin, Wawona, CA, read "Mayfly."
Claire J. Baker read her prize winning poem, "Costumes for the Stage."
Banat El Hoggar chose Claire J. Baker's "Costumes for the Stage" as their performance piece. Dancers from Banat El Hoggar were some of the DPF judges.
Our onstage final bow of everyone was a wonderful coming together of dancers, poets and program staff. We give a grand thank you to everyone and hope to see you all again next year.
Our three grand prize winners on stage together: Claudine Nash, New Rochelle, NY; Shirley McPhillips, Dumont, NJ; Constantina Clark, Greens Fork, IN, but submitted from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Republics.
Natica Angilly gives her final few words of thanks appreciation.
It's a small world. Maya Ibitz, Deborah Schmidt and Judy Hardin Cheung meet each other face to face. When Maya was about 7 years old, Judy took her photo and later displayed it as art in a restaurant. Deborah saw it, was inspired and won a prize this year in DPF, not knowing that now 17 year old Maya would be there. This was a joyful meeting.
Deborah, Maya and Maya's Mom, Linda, have a nice long chat backstage.
Poet Gillie Haynes and Choreographer Ronda Hollie say "Hi," while in the background, Betty Wong of San Francisco Community Music Center chats with dancer Cindy Levinson.