The Historic Yuma Theatre was a pantheon of artistic expression Friday night as the Yuma Art Center presented its 19th annual Tribute of the Muses award ceremony.

Deriving its name from Greek mythology, the Tribute of the Muses Award recognizes a particular individual or family who exhibits exemplary devotion and excellence in the realm of the arts.

This year’s award, designed and sculpted by Yuma artist Julia Aubrey, was presented to Jose Dorame, art teacher at Pecan Grove Elementary School and president of the North End Artist Co-operative.

“I’ve always used art as a way to learn about the world,” Dorame said. “I never thought in a million years that I would win this. This is for all the kids I teach at North End.”

Some of Dorame’s artwork is currently on display in the United Building at the Yuma Art Center.

Alongside Dorame, nominees for the Tribute of the Muses Award were Angie Creel, Myriah Farrar, Ralph Gray, Holly Hendrick, Terri Irizarry, Lisa Manchester, Michael and Maria McKivergan, and Cindy Turrentine and Shirley Nelson.

Nominees for the awards are generated from the public and winners are selected by the Yuma Parks, Arts and Recreation Commission.

More recently introduced in 2010, the Helios Award recognizes emerging Yuma artists who are making visible differences in the community through arts education, visual arts, performing arts or arts advocacy.

“Creative artists don’t just see the potential of our community – they are willing to roll up their sleeves and do the work,” The Yuma Art Center’s Arts and Culture Program Manager Lindsay Benacka said.

Violinist David Adler was the recipient of this year’s Helios Award. In addition to his involvement with the Yuma Civic Orchestra, Yuma Civic Light Orchestra and the Yuma String Ambassadors, Adler spends an ample amount of time volunteering with a variety of groups including Jr. Optimist and the Boys and Girls Club.

Adler was unable to attend Friday’s event, so his friend Matthew Irizarry accepted the award on his behalf.

Besides Adler, nominees for the Helios Award were Nichole Bradford, Harrison Dusek, Michelle Greco, Michelle Loynes, Danielle McLaughlin and Deidre Seale, and Miguel Pulido.

The Yuma Art Center also celebrated Arizona State Representative Charlene Fernandez as a Legislative Arts Champion. “We have the arts in Arizona because of people who fight the good fight for them in our capitol,” Executive Director of Arizona Citizens for the Arts Joseph Benesh said.

Fernandez received the Legislative Arts Champion Award – the first of its kind to be presented at a Tribute of the Muses ceremony.

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