Arts Orange County is proud to announce the recipients of the 2016 Arts Awards:


Damien and Yvonne Jordan, Arts Philanthropists
After serving more than a decade as a member of the Pacific Symphony board, Damien was unanimously elected as a Life Director of the Organization in 2010. At The Wooden Floor, Damien serves as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors, and Yvonne is directly involved with their programs for youth, and also serves on their Board of Directors. South Coast Repertory benefited greatly from Damien's service as Board President (2012-14), and he remains active on the Board. Yvonne co-chaired the theatre's 50th Season Anniversary Gala in 2013, and the Jordans have also served as Honorary Producers of SCR's nationally acclaimed Pacific Playwrights Festival. Their dedicated volunteer service has been matched by their exceptionally generous contributions.

John Forsyte, President, Pacific Symphony
Through 18 years of visionary leadership, John Forsyte has grown the Pacific Symphony into the largest and most important orchestra created in the United States during the last 50 years. Considered by many to be one of the most brilliant thought-leaders in the field of symphony orchestra management, John is greatly beloved by his Board, staff and the community. His close working partnership with Music Director Carl St. Clair has created a solid foundation for the Pacific Symphony's tremendous success, and is admired nationwide as a leadership model to be emulated.

Mike McGee, Director, Begovich Gallery & Professor of Art, California State University, Fullerton
Artist, curator, teacher and visionary leader, Mike McGee reinvigorated Cal State Fullerton's campus gallery in 1992 and then took on the challenge of founding, in 2000, the celebrated Grand Central Art Center in Santa Ana. Generations of artists, curators and museum professionals here and around the nation owe their careers to his keen eye for talent and his devoted mentorship. When anyone speaks of art in Orange County, Mike McGee is always the first name that comes up: for 25 years, he has been its foremost expert and leader in the field.

PBS SoCal, Costa Mesa
KOCE became PBS SoCal - and the primary PBS station for Greater Los Angeles and Southern California when KCET left the PBS system in 2011. Today, PBS SoCal KOCE is the most-watched public television station in the region, and the third most-watched PBS station in the nation. PBS SoCal delivers its mission to foster a love of learning, culture and community through distinctive PBS programming, person-to-person experiences in the classroom and the community and diverse cultural and community partnerships. The organization now operates out of three regional offices in Century City, Costa Mesa and Los Angeles.

Yevgeniya Mikhailik, Artist
A native of Russia whose family relocated here when she was 13, Yevgeniya Mikhailik is an artist and illustrator whose work "flows through phases of obsession and...pairs whimsy with delicate and innovative imagination, creating places and creatures that almost make magic seem real." --KCET. She is attracting major attention in the art world, in the press, and her work has been featured in prestigious galleries. And in her day job as Exhibition Program Coordinator at the Irvine Fine Arts Center, she is helping to promote the work of other talented artists.

Allen Moon, Impresario
Orange County native Allen Moon danced with the celebrated Los Angeles company Diavolo. He then carved out a second career in performing arts management with David Lieberman Artists' Representatives in Newport Beach, as Director of Touring and Artist Management, representing an impressive roster of cutting edge companies. Three years ago, he invented Santa Ana Sites, a series of challenging performances by world class talent that he presents in nontraditional and unusual spaces, for free or at affordable ticket prices, drawing large audiences, and the Orange County arts scene has never been the same!

View list of past Arts Awards recipients

2015 Ceremony Information and Pictures

On Wednesday, October 14, 2015, Arts Orange County held its 16th Annual Orange County Arts Awards in the Samueli Theater at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Emceed by Mechelle Lawrence-Adams, Executive Director of Mission San Juan Capistrano, and ArtsOC Executive Director Rick Stein, the ceremony celebrated both lives and accomplishments in the arts community, and gave special honors to outstanding organizations and individuals:

2015 OC Arts Awards Honorees
(from L) Marlene Peña-Marin, Artistic Director accepting for Relámpago del Cielo; Cathy Rigby; Wylie & Bette Aitken; Jodie Gates, Artistic Director accepting for Laguna Dance Festival

OC Arts Awards   The audience at the Samueli Theater at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts

Event co-emcees - ArtsOC Executive Director Rick Stein and Mission San Juan Capistrano Executive Director Mechelle Lawrence-Adams   Broadway veterans David Engel and Tracy Lore sing in tribute to honoree Cathy Rigby

Members of Relámpago del Cielo, recipients of a Helena Modjeska Cultural Legacy Award for Outstanding Arts Organization.   Two-time Grammy Award-winning musicians the Mariachi Divas

Rick Stein and Mechelle Lawrence-Adams   Wylie & Bette Aitken with ArtsOC Board Member Mary Lyons (Center)

ArtsOC Board President Rick Smetanka and wife Cherie   Mary Lou Shattuck and Kate Hoffman

(from L) Jodie Gates, Eric Spitz, Karen Wilson   (from L) ArtsOC Board Vice President Janet Ray, husband James "Walkie" Ray, and Mechelle Lawrence Adams

The COAST Magazine team from the Orange County Register   ArtsOC Development Director Karen Ahola (2nd from L) with (from L) husband Chris, Michael Kaupp, and Don Prime

ArtsOC Board Member William Cusato and wife Claire   Cathy Rigby and Wylie Aitken

The Devin Norris Trio entertains arriving guests before the ceremony   ArtsOC Program Assistant Nicholas Thurkettle (center), with event volunteers Christine Cummings (L) and Nikki Nguyen

(from L) Barbara Roberts, Susan Reeder, and Bette Aitken   (from L) Claire & William Cusato, Cathy Rigby, Rick Stein and wife Alison

(from L) Casey Long and Erika Miller   (from L) Deborah & John Montevideo

Jo Ellen Chatham and Wylie Aitken   Mechelle Lawrence Adams and husband Joe   Flo Low and Julia Foster

(from L) Kevin Cartwright, Jonathan Burke, Gary Good   (from L) Lelani Kroeker and Brooke Robinson

Rick Smetanka and Cathy Rigby   (from L) Rosie Peña, William Cusato, Marlene Peña-Marin

Vanessa and Brian Smith   (from L) Tom Rogers, Sally Anderson, Wylie Aitken