The AMOCAT Arts Awards recognize the people and organizations that positively impact the community with their passion, innovation, and commitment to the arts.
AMOCAT Arts Award recipients are nominated by the public and the Tacoma Arts Commission selects one finalist in each award category based on the breadth and depth of the nominee's community impact as well as the quality of work being done by the nominee.
There are three categories for recognition:
- Arts Patron
- Community Outreach by an Organization
- Community Outreach by an Individual
2016 Arts Patron
Metro Parks Tacoma
From historic statues in Wright Park, and cultural pieces gifted from Tacoma’s Sister Cities that grace Point Defiance, to contemporary works that inspire visitors and beautify non-traditional mediums ranging from concrete walkways to conversation benches, amphitheater seats and community center exteriors, Tacoma’s parks provide an array of public art experiences throughout the community.
While performing and visual arts have long been part of the park system, opportunities for individuals to hone their personal skills through classes has expanded greatly since the inception of the Metro Arts program. Beyond individual exploration and development in the arts, the program provides access for the entire community to participate in free events and coordinates community projects to unite diverse audiences through shared art experiences.
Metro Parks’ contributions to our creative culture in Tacoma is evident in its commitment to making sure all forms of art can be experienced and enjoyed by our community. Their commitment to access is demonstrated by the Board’s recent adoption of a 1 percent for public art policy on all capital projects totaling more than $100,000, helping ensure even greater access to the arts, as well as increasing opportunities for artists in our community.
2016 Community Outreach by an Organization
Tacoma Youth Symphony Association
For over 50 years, the Tacoma Youth Symphony Association has provided nurturing, all-inclusive programs for young musicians. What started as one orchestra of less than 100 students in 1963, has grown into an internationally recognized youth orchestra organization comprised of five orchestras and over 400 students from all over Western Washington. The members of the Tacoma Youth Symphony Association range in age from seven to 21, and represent more than 100 schools in 20 communities. One of the largest youth orchestras in the United States, the Tacoma Youth Symphony Association also offers theory classes, a chamber music program, brass and woodwind ensembles, summer music camps, and harp and bass training programs.
The Tacoma Youth Symphony Association is also committed to serving the surrounding community. Each year, the Tacoma Youth Symphony, the top orchestra, offers Discover Music Concerts for fourth graders from around the greater Tacoma area. These free concerts are designed to introduce school children to classical music and reach nearly 2,000 students. In addition, the Tacoma Young Artists Orchestra and Tacoma String Philharmonia do annual school tours, performing for underserved student bodies throughout the community. The Tacoma String Symphony performs each year in retirement communities and the Tacoma Junior Youth Symphony performs at the Victorian Country Christmas.
Committed to education, the Tacoma Youth Symphony Association education specialist and several Tacoma Youth Symphony Association conductors visit schools throughout the school year, where they coach and conduct in band and orchestra classrooms and provide musical demonstrations in classrooms. Tacoma Youth Symphony Association also offers a String Orchestra Festival each March for middle and junior high school string programs. The String Orchestra Festival draws approximately 1,200 students each year from schools all over the Puget Sound area for a day of performance in a non-competitive environment. Schools also have the opportunity to play together in a festival orchestra.
2016 Community Outreach by an Individual
Christopher Paul Jordan
Born and based in the Hilltop neighborhood, Christopher Paul Jordan bridges audiences by fusing art and community organizing.
Jordan's documentary, MEANWHILE: The Lasting Impact of Juvenile Records, was instrumental in provoking legislative change to state policies that previously allowed the selling of records of system-involved youth to private for-profit companies, often blocking access to housing, education and jobs for Washington's most vulnerable youth.
Today, Jordan co-directs the grassroots youth organization Fab-5, which empowers young people as creative leaders who inspire change in their surroundings. He co-founded FABITAT which, for five years, has served as a drop-in interdisciplinary creative lab for youth year-round.
Jordan’s collaboration with Tacoma Action Collective through the #StopErasingBlackPeople campaign built partnerships among Black artists, archivers, and HIV prevention organizers nationwide to give visibility to the impact of the U.S. AIDS Crisis on African Americans.
Jordan’s efforts this year include co-establishing Hue Collaborative, a cohort of 10 artists of color working in public art and currently completing an 1,800 square foot mural commission for the People’s Community Center; co-founding the Breaker Studio Gallery to highlight and support artists of color and community organizers in Tacoma with exhibition and convening space; and using social sculpture to advocate for increased affordable housing in the Hilltop neighborhood.
Jordan is currently working on a statewide visioning project with the League of Education Voters, striving to push for progress in the dialogue about the future of education in Washington state by convening the voices of those who stand in the opportunity gap.
Past AMOCAT Arts Award Recipients