Celebrating Minnesota’s commitment to the arts
The Sally Awards recognize and celebrate the contributions and accomplishments of artists, educators, volunteers, philanthropists, and leaders who strengthen and enrich the stage of Minnesota with their commitment to the arts and arts education.
Congratulations to the recipients of the 26th annual Sally Awards
ARTS ACCESS | Washburn Blackbox Acting Program
Recognizing the need for youth to be heard and honored, this innovative social justice theater program provides a safe space for youth to create, perform and tour original theatre to diverse audiences across the Twin Cities. The Blackbox Acting Program is open to all students and brings together youth from a variety of racial, ethnic, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds to engage in a rigorous training program that results in their creation of original theatre.
ARTS LEARNING | Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop
Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop (MPWW) brings high-quality creative writing education to prisons across the state. Since its founding in 2011, MPWW has grown into an organization with more than 70 instructors and volunteer mentors, serving more than 1,000 students in almost every state prison in Minnesota. Emphasizing self-reflection and seeing art as an ongoing habit, the workshop teaches students to tell their own stories in a way that is found to be profoundly rehabilitative.
COMMITMENT | Gao Hong
Gao Hong, a Chinese musical prodigy and master of the Chinese lute, the pipa, began her career as a professional musician at age 12. She graduated with honors from China’s premier music school, the Central Conservatory of Music, where she studied with Lin Shicheng. Gao has received numerous top awards in both China and the U.S., including 1st Prize in the Hebei Professional Young Music Performers Competition and an International Art Cup (Beijing). She has performed in Europe, Asia, South America, North America, and Australia in solo concerts and with symphony orchestras, jazz musicians, and musicians from other cultures. She has performed at major venues and festivals worldwide, including Lincoln Center Festival, Carnegie Hall, the International Festival of Perth, and the Festival de Teatro d’Europa in Milan.
Committed to sharing the Chinese tradition of the pipa with diverse communities, Gao has presented educational programs and lectures at schools and colleges across Minnesota and the nation for many years. She is currently an instructor at Carleton College and guest professor at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing and the Tianjin Conservatory of Music in China.
INITIATIVE | Maia Maiden
Scientist by day, dancer by night, Maia Maiden has been a pillar in the dance community for over 20 years. Born and raised in South Minneapolis, she has studied all genres of dance primarily focusing on West African, Hip Hop and Step. Her work has been featured in Momentum: New Dance Works 2008; the Hip Hop Theater Festival 2008 and Fringe Festival 2008 in Washington D.C.; Snapshots: Reflections of Women 2010; the Catalyst Series 2012; and CHANGEMAKERS Profile Series presented by Intermedia Arts.
Maia’s passion for cultural representation in the arts has led to the creation of innumerable powerful performances including ROOTED: Hip Hop Choreographers’ Evening, the first and only choreographers’ evening dedicated to Hip Hop dance and its roots in the Twin Cities which showcases high-school level to professional-level choreographers, as well as the multidisciplinary Sistah Solo | Being Brothas, which features solo performances by women and men of color.
SOCIAL IMPACT | Mizna
Since 1999, the Saint Paul-based Arab American arts organization Mizna has been a platform for contemporary Arab American literature, film, art and other cultural programming. Seeing anti-Arab, anti-immigrant, and anti-Muslim rhetoric grow in recent years, Mizna strives to present a different view by creating spaces where often silenced and vilified Arab voices can be heard. Its literary journal, Mizna: Prose, Poetry and Art Exploring Arab America, remains the only Arab American journal in publication and has published more than 300 authors. Mizna also brings independent Arab cinema and visiting filmmakers to Minnesota audiences through its Twin Cities Arab Film Festival; offers language and drumming classes; and hosts performances, community dialogues, and skill-building cohorts.