On Wednesday, May 29, the Arts + Business Council (ABC) hosted its 34th Annual Awards Celebration at the Annenberg Center for Performing Arts. The Awards shined a spotlight on Philly’s creative community, bringing together hundreds of top business and creative professionals investing in the future of arts and innovation to drive change in our communities.

This year, we were excited to award 10 honorees, ranging from business leaders, volunteers, artists, organizations, and partnerships. These honorees lead, serve, and inspire a more creative region, bringing a unique advantage to Greater Philadelphia.

The celebration kicked off with a jam session by GLBL VLLG, who gave attendees a unique “concert where the audience is the headliner.” The high energy was the perfect segue to open the ceremony.

Independence Blue Cross‘ Grant Gegwich presented the G. Fred DiBona, Jr. Individual Leadership Award, to Meegan Denenberg and Tayyib Smith, Co-Founders of Little Giant Creative. Denenberg and Smith have distinguished themselves as leaders in the creative sectors. These two individuals strive to use their skills and talent to support all residents of Philadelphia and provide opportunities to those who are consistently marginalized and overlooked.

The ceremony continued with an enthusiastic crowd cheering on the honorees. This year, ABC had a diverse and dynamic group of winners ranging from ex-aerospace engineers-turn-attorneys and biotech companies to creative agencies and Chief Financial Officers, including:

PNC Arts Alive Award for Innovation
Philadelphia Young Playwrights
Sponsored by PNC Arts Alive

Creative Economy Award for the Distinction in a For-Profit Creative Field
REC Philly
Sponsored by Comcast NBCUniversal

Business + Arts Partnership Award
Integral Molecular + University City Science Center
Sponsored by SEI

Designing Leadership Alumni Award
Jessica Craft, Founding Executive Director, Rock to the Future

CreativeXchange Alumni Award
Alicia Karr, Executive Vice President and CFO, Meyer
Sponsored by Navigate

Volunteers For the Creative Economy

Business on Board Volunteer Leader Award
Jennifer Pouchot, Vice President, Digital & Creative, SEI
for service to The Painted Bride
Sponsored by Meridian Bank

Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts
John Chionchio, Partner, Ballard Spahr, LLP
Patrick Brady, Attorney, Ballard Spahr, LLP
for service to Intercept Nexus, LLC
Sponsored by Stradley Ronon

Business Volunteers for the Arts (BVA) Award
Angelina Sciolla, Executive Creative Director, Benchworks
for service to Upper Darby Arts & Education Foundation
Sponsored by PECO

This year, we were proud to present entertainment written and performed by the award winners themselves. Opera Philadelphia’s John Holiday received a standing ovation for his performance, including a rendition of “Amazing Grace.” Philadelphia Young Playwrights put on a special performance of Quiara Alegría Hudes’ award-winning submission to the Philadelphia Young Playwrights’ (PYP) Annual Playwriting Festival in 1993.

The ceremony closed with a bang by awarding the Anne d’Harnoncourt Award for Artistic Excellence to David B. Devan, General Director & President, Opera Philadelphia and Quiara Alegría Hudes, Playwright & Author.

Devan has strategically guided Opera Philadelphia through a transformative period of innovation, being called “one of the leading instigators of new work in the country” by Opera News and described as “a hotbed of operatic innovation” by the New York Times.

Hailed for her work’s exuberance, intellectual rigor, and rich imagination, Quiara Alegría Hudes’ plays and musicals have been performed around the world. The West Philly native is both a Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winner, and has collaborated with a variety of renowned musicians, including Lin-Manuel Miranda.

We’re humbled to be reminded of all the talent that resides in our Greater Philadelphia region, and beyond amazed at the work our business community does to support the arts. The Awards Celebration was the perfect end to an amazing fiscal year for the Arts + Business Council. Thank you to all of our members and stakeholders for helping in our mission to catalyze a new framework to innovate by investing in and connecting the creative economy to the business community.