By SUE SUCHYTA
The Dearborn Mayor’s Arts Awards, which last met live in April 2019, will return to Studio A of the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center at 7 p.m. May 11 to present the 2022 awards.
Mayor Abdullah Hammoud will continue the tradition in his first year as mayor, presenting the honors, which are a project of the Dearborn Recreation Commission and the Cultural Arts Committee.
Hammoud selects the Mayor’s Award, while the other honors are chosen by a committee of local residents active in the arts.
The Mayor’s Award will be presented to Jack Tate, curator of the Dearborn Historical Museum, while the Artist Performer Award will be given to former city photographer Bruce Harkness.
The Arts Educator Award will be given to Dearborn Public Schools art teacher Susan Briggs, while the Patron Award will be bestowed upon Ibrahim Alhasbani, an ardent supporter of the Arab American National Museum, which in turn will receive the Organization Award.
John Sczomak of the Players Guild of Dearborn will receive the Volunteer Award, while the Dearborn Symphony Orchestra will receive a Special Recognition Award.
Tate, the Mayor’s Award recipient, is the curator of the Dearborn Historical Museum. His role as a dedicated museum volunteer turned into a full-time job when the organization needed leadership. Tate stabilized the museum campus, addressed critical structural issues and built the staff’s knowledge base to help ensure the group’s longevity.
Harkness, who served as the city’s photographer for many years, will receive the Artist Performer Award for his photos that captured the life and history of the community through memorable images of people, places and events.
When he retired from the city, Harkness continued to cover the community as a freelance photographer, donating his time to cover veteran events.
He earned a master’s degree from College for Creative Studies, and his work has been shown in galleries at Wayne State University and the University of Michigan-Dearborn. He immortalized Poletown with his camera, and was recently featured at Dearborn’s Black Box Gallery with a powerful collection of Black residents photographed in Detroit in decades past.
Briggs, the Arts Educator Award recipient, has taught art at Maples Elementary in Dearborn for more than 24 years. As the Dearborn Public Schools Art Resource teacher, she has mentored many colleagues while coordinating district-wide activities, meetings and opportunities, including field trips, workshops and enrichment opportunities, as well as coordinating the annual district-wide art exhibit. She also serves on the Padzieski Gallery exhibition committee and the Dearborn Cultural Arts committee.
Alhasbani, recipient of the Patron Award, is a steadfast, invaluable supporter of the Arab American National Museum, both financially and with his time. He promotes the work of the museum through his professional and commercial networks, and has been a constant presence at museum cultural events, offering moral support and advocating for AANM programs and staff, as well as for ACCESS.
The Arab American National Museum, which will receive the Organization Award, is being recognized for the vital role it plays in Dearborn and throughout southeast Michigan.
AANM embodies the collective mindset for a better future and preservation of Arab American heritage. It is also being recognized for its Artist in Residence program, which hosts local, regional and international artists to share, cultivate and encourage artistic growth.
Sczomak, the Volunteer Award recipient, was nominated for his work with the Players Guild of Dearborn, where he served as the group’s president. He helped secure grant funds to support the organization’s financial health, and established PGD’s summer week-long Starshine Theater Workshop for children, teens and adults with developmental disabilities.
Sczomak also provided strong leadership during the pandemic when the Guild sought creative ways to support the community theater financially.
He also volunteered with the Dearborn Youth Theater, working backstage and building and moving sets, and served for many years on the Dearborn Recreation Commission, and is currently the chair of the Cultural Arts Commission committee.
The Dearborn Symphony Orchestra, recipient of the Special Recognition Award, is being honored for its “diamond jubilee,” celebrating 60 years of providing high quality, professional performances for the Dearborn community and throughout Wayne County, and recognizing the DSO’s contributions through providing educational workshops, scholarships and opportunities to young, aspiring musicians.
To become a sponsor for the 2022 Mayor’s Art Awards, contact the Dearborn Community Fund at 313-943-5478 or [email protected]