Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County announces ACE awardees

The Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County (CAFC) announces the recipients of the third annual Arts & Culture Empowerment (ACE) Awards, a celebration of individuals, organizations, and businesses in Fairfield County who have made significant contributions to the Fairfield County community through arts and culture, or who have enriched the arts and culture sector through volunteerism or patronage.

Tony Award-winning actor James Naughton will serve as master of ceremonies at the ACE Awards Breakfast on Wednesday, June 6, from 7:30-9 a.m., at the Shore and Country Club in Norwalk. Robin Tauck, business leader, philanthropist and co-owner/former president and CEO of Tauck, Inc. will be this year’s keynote speaker. Tauck also is founder and president of Tauck Ritzau Innovative Philanthropy (TRIP), a private family foundation that supports cultural organizations working to create economic development and improve quality of life.

“We’re delighted to host this year’s ACE Awards and honor these arts and cultural champions from across our region who have enhanced our community through their passion for the arts, dedication to education, and sharing of their many talents,” said CAFC Executive Director Angela Whitford.

2018 ACE Awards recipients:

ACE Award, Corporate: Valerie Cooper, founder of Picture That Art Consultants, a Stamford-based international fine art experts and appraisers known for their culture of collaboration, commitment to strengthening the communities they serve, and their ability to create private/public partnerships with state, community and nonprofit stakeholders to produce projects of lasting value.

ACE Award, Artist: Megan Bonneau McCool is a multi-talented artist who danced as an apprentice with the New York City Ballet and choreographed more than 30 commissioned ballets at area colleges. She teaches at local ballet schools, choreographs musicals for her town’s public schools, and volunteers with Stratford Academy’s Cultural Arts Program to bring enriching hands-on experiences and multi-cultural performances to the students.

ACE Award, Nonprofit: New England Dance Theater is inspired to create awareness, access and appreciation of the arts through dance, reaching Fairfield County residents regardless of ability to pay. Community outreach efforts include educational programming and dance performances at schools, hospitals, and senior care facilities, as well as the annual Nutcracker Benefit Show for guests from local family and youth service organizations.

ACE Award, Educator: Jim Royle teaches percussion in his Bridgeport Drums & Percussion Studio to students of all ages and levels. While Jim enjoys his own performance career, his love of music and the pleasure of passing this love onto future musicians are his passion. His studio is well known for turning out remarkable performers who are skilled in many aspects of percussion, advancing from Drum to World, Latin, Afro-Cuban, Orchestra, Steel Drums, Timpani, and Mallet studies.

ACE Award, Citizen: Dennis Bradbury is founder and curator of 22 Haviland Street Gallery in South Norwalk. A successful photographer and active promoter of Norwalk and area artists, she strives to bring people together through art; encouraging understanding, inclusiveness, professional collaboration and friendships, all of which has enhanced the cultural experience in Fairfield County.

CAFC also will present a special President’s Award to the family of Burt Chernow in recognition of the powerful impact he made on Fairfield County’s arts and culture community. A renowned art historian, writer and teacher, Burt was also the founder and director emeritus of the Housatonic Museum of Art and was instrumental in helping to build its collection by soliciting artists, collectors and friends for donations to the museum, which now houses more than 4,500 artworks.

ACE Award Breakfast tickets are now on sale at https://aceawards2018.eventbrite.com.

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