Mayor Abdullah Hammoud presented his first round of awards, which included the mayor’s personal award pick, and awards for an artist/performer, patron, educator, volunteer, organization and a special recognition, given when merited.
Hammoud said he hopes to strengthen the rich tradition of support for the arts within Dearborn during his administration.
He said he hopes to find ways to attract young people to the arts, as well as to recognize those within Dearborn’s arts community.
Players Guild of Dearborn board member, past president and actor Mike Moseley served as master of ceremonies, while Guild cast members Alex Quinlan as Billy Crocker and Carissa Lokken as Reno Sweeney from the theater’s current musical, Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes,” sang “You’re the Top.”
Moseley had the honor of presenting John Sczomak of the Players Guild of Dearborn with the volunteer award.
Moseley said that Sczomak is the embodiment of both “community” and “theater” as longtime volunteer with PGD, has sought to make all community members welcome in the group, and has served on the board, including three terms as president.
“He is wonderfully droll, rather acerbic, and his always self-deprecating sense of humor finds its way into board proceedings,” he said. “John’s leadership on the board brings a welcome stability, and John is the guy who quietly gets the job done.”
Sczomak’s expertise as a grant writer has resulted in several significant grants being awarded to the organization.
He also led the Guild through the pandemic, as theaters throughout the world ceased performing.
“He helped us to navigate the unknown as long as we believed in each other and were willing to put in the hard work,” Moseley said. “And as is his style, John led by doing, always present, always making sure that we had what we needed to get through.”
Moseley said Sczomak is a servant leader, leading by example.
Sczomak developed the week-long summer Starshine Theater Workshop for those with developmental disabilities through his connection with the Neighborhood Service Organization.
“His ongoing pursuit of bringing people together to advance the arts in Dearborn is tireless,” Moseley said. “John Sczomak is the guy you can count on: The hardest of workers, the biggest of hearts, and the best of friends.”
Other tireless and hard-working artist who help others and lead by example were honored throughout the evening’s event.
Hammoud presented Jack Tate of the Dearborn Historical Museum with the Mayor’s Award, while longtime city photographer Bruce Harkness received the artist performer award, which was presented by Mary Laundroche of the City of Dearborn.
The Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services Development Manager Miyan Sobh presented the patron award to Ibrahim Alhasbani.
Retired Dearborn Public Schools art educator Wendy Sample presented the art educator award to her colleague and DPS teacher Susan Briggs.
ACCESS co-founder Ismael Ahmed presented the organization award to the Arab American National Museum, which was accepted by Katherine Grabowski Khairullah and Zaza Saad.
A special recognition award was given to the Dearborn Symphony, presented by City Councilmember Leslie Herrick, with Sandy Butler, president and executive director of the Dearborn Symphony Orchestra, accepting the award.
The Dearborn Youth Symphony’s Philharmonic Strings, with Jasmine Beltrame, Sterling Deller, Jorge Endanst, McKayla Hocking, Alaiya Jackson, Evan Jenkins, Eleanor Limbaugh, Olivia Sherman and Francis Xavier played Karl Jenkins’ “Palladio.”
The Thowra Dabke Dance Troupe also performed.
A reception was held following the awards ceremony, with the Padzieski Gallery open for attendees to see its Gold Metal Juried Arts Award Show.