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The Awards Celebrate and Recognize Trailblazers and Visionaries in the Performing Arts

Media interested in covering The APAP Honors or the APAP|NYC 2024 conference are invited to apply for credentials here by December 29th.
Photos of APAP Honors awardees available by request.
WASHINGTON, DC, December 7, 2023. The Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) is proud to announce the names of eight outstanding individuals who will receive APAP Awards on Monday, January 15 at 9:30 a.m. at the New York Hilton Midtown.
For more than six decades, the APAP Awards Ceremony (renamed “The APAP Honors” in 2021) has celebrated and recognized trailblazers and visionaries of the performing arts field. The coveted awards are part of the ceremony traditionally held at the annual APAP|NYC conference (
This year’s honorees are seven-time Grammy winner and two-time Oscar nominee Terence Blanchard; game-changing dance and arts managers Lisa Booth and Deirdre Valente; Lincoln Center’s Chief Artistic Officer Shanta Thake; nationally renowned arts researcher Randy Cohen; prominent arts philanthropists John W. Brown and Rosemary Kopel Brown; and emerging dance artivist Ruby Morales. Booth, who died earlier this year, will be awarded posthumously.
“I'm very excited about this year's APAP Honors. We’re returning with the in-person ceremony for the first time since January 2020, and as the live performing arts continues to recover, we are marking this moment with the introduction of two new awards---The Arts Champion Award and The Spark of Change Award” observes APAP President and CEO Lisa Richards Toney
“The Arts Champion Award acknowledges someone who stands tall for the performing arts and arts professionals. This year, we are honoring a local hero for supporting organizations in their community. The Spark of Change Award invites us to rally behind an early or mid-career performing arts professional who has demonstrated compelling courage and inspired innovation in addressing a challenge we are facing as a field. So, in addition to our longtime award traditions, these two new awards are a cause for celebration. Congratulations to all the awardees!”
During The APAP Honors ceremony, the North American Performing Arts Managers and Agents (NAPAMA) and the Creative and Independent Producer Alliance (CIPA) will celebrate their own awardees. NAPAMA will award the NAPAMA Award for Excellence in Presenting the Performing Arts and the NAPAMA Liz Silverstein Agent-Manager of the Year Award. CIPA will award the CIPA Award for Outstanding Achievement in Creative Producing. The winner of APAP’s Halsey and Alice North Board Alumni Award (to be announced in an earlier ceremony at APAP|NYC) will also be recognized.  
This year’s APAP honorees:
Terence Blanchard will receive the Award of Merit for achievement in the performing arts.
The composer and renowned trumpet player has been a consistent artistic force for making powerful musical statements concerning painful American tragediespast and present. Blanchard stands tall as one of jazz’s most-esteemed trumpeters and defies expectations by creating a spectrum of artistic pursuits. Among his countless achievements, Blanchard is a two-time opera composer whose Fire Shut Up in My Bones is based on the memoir of celebrated writer and New York Times columnist Charles Blow. It was the first opera composed by an African American composer to premiere at the Met.
Lisa Booth (1949-2023) and Deirdre Valente will receive the Fan Taylor Distinguished Service Award for exemplary service to the field of professional presenting.
Booth established Lisa Booth Management, Inc. (LBMI) in 1983 as a managerial home for NYC-based dance makers; LBMI expanded its work across genres when Valente joined a year later. Together, they built an international, multi-disciplinary framework for artists to share their work globally with the resources and contexts for communities to successfully host them.
Shanta Thake will receive the William Dawson Award for Programmatic Excellence and sustained achievement in programming.
Thake is the Ehrenkranz Chief Artistic Officer at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, where she spearheads all artistic programming activities. Since her start in the fall of 2021, Shanta has been key to Lincoln Center's ongoing efforts to ensure the arts are central to the civic life of the city—welcoming new and returning audiences, championing genres historically underrepresented on campus, and ushering in accessible ticket models to help break down cost barriers. Thake also serves as the co-director of globalFEST, North America’s world music festival.
Randy Cohen will receive the Sidney R. Yates Advocacy Award for outstanding advocacy on behalf of the performing arts.
Cohen is Vice President of Research at Americans for the Arts—the national advocacy organization for the arts—where he has been empowering arts advocates since 1991. He recently published Arts & Economic Prosperity 6, the national economic and social impact study of nonprofit arts and culture organizations and their audiences, and led the development of the National Arts Policy Roundtable, an annual convening of leaders who focus on the advancement of American culture—launched in partnership with Robert Redford and the Sundance Institute.
John W. Brown and Rosemary Kopel Brown will receive the inaugural Arts Champion Award, which recognizes board members of performing arts organizations, as well as representatives.
John W. Brown and Rosemary Kopel Brown exemplify the transformative impact of hard work, intelligence, education, and philanthropy. Rosemary's community service includes roles on numerous boards, such as the Kalamazoo College Board and the Atlanta Opera Board. John's service leadership includes Junior Achievement and boards such as Kalamazoo College and Auburn University Foundation. Deeply committed to Auburn University, the Browns made history in 2015 with the university's largest-ever gift to create the Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center, along with the Brown-Kopel Engineering Student Achievement Center in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, and the Rosemary Kopel Brown Eminent Scholars Chair in the College of Sciences and Mathematics.
Ruby Morales will receive the inaugural Spark of Change Award, which honors an emergent individual under the age of 40 or group less than 15 years in existence, who demonstrates trail-blazing innovation and vision in the presenting, creative producing, booking and touring field.
Morales is committed to equity, facilitating life-affirming spaces, and cultivating community relationships rooted in reciprocity, trust, and love through life and her artmaking. She’s a dance artivist investigating culturally informed teaching methods, circular leadership models, and her relationship with movement as a bgirl and Mexican style cumbia. She is currently touring with internationally renowned creative Liz Lerman performing her most recent work Wicked Bodies, CONTRA-TIEMPO Activist Dance Theater, and Tucson, AZ-based choreographer Yvonne Montoya.
Detailed bios of the honorees can be found here.
A full description of the awards criterion and a list of previous recipients can be found here.
APAP members were invited to nominate artists, agents, managers, presenters, producers, organizations, supporters, and other arts professionals whose hard work, dedication and vision have contributed to the strength, impact, and resilience of the performing arts industry. Awards are voted on by a committee comprised of long-time APAP members and other luminaries from the performing arts world.
The APAP Honors is sponsored by IMG Artists (
About the Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP)
APAP, the Association of Performing Arts Professionals, is the national service, advocacy and membership organization dedicated to developing and supporting a robust, performing arts presenting, booking, and touring field and the professionals who work within it. Our 1,700 national and international members represent leading performing arts centers, artist agencies, managers, touring companies, and performing artists. APAP is the producer of the annual APAP|NYC conference (—the world’s leading gathering and marketplace for the performing arts—and is an industry leader, providing year-round resources, programming, and services.
APAP|NYC is a founding partner of JanArtsNYC, the annual convergence of world-class public festivals and innovative industry gatherings taking place throughout the month of January at various NYC venues, supported by the NYC Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment. 
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