(Photo courtesy Santa Monica Arts Foundation)

(Photo courtesy Santa Monica Arts Foundation)

Mayor Pro Tempore Terry O’Day and members of the Santa Monica Arts Foundation recognized the contributions of local leaders instrumental in making Santa Monica a vibrant arts community at an awards ceremony at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel on Thursday, Feb. 28.

This is the first year of the annual Arts Leadership Awards program. The honorees are:

Wayne Blank — Creative Community Innovator: An individual or small or mid-size commercial creative business contributing to making Santa Monica’s arts and culture sector “cutting edge” through experimentation, design, or cultural sustainability.

Abby Sher — Arts Patron: An individual or business leader providing extensive support for the arts in Santa Monica.

Jon Swihart — Artist in the Community/Bruria Finkel Award: An artist who has contributed significantly to Santa Monica’s arts community through activism, patronage, and/or volunteerism.

Also honored was artist Bruria Finkel in recognition for her lifetime of leadership in making Santa Monica a place that values artists and the arts. The Artist in the Community award was named in her honor.

“Volunteers, philanthropists, and creative entrepreneurs are essential to Santa Monica’s extraordinary arts community,” said George Minardos, Foundation Chairperson, “and these awards highlight the importance of their contributions.”

Honorees of the nonmonetary award received a signed lithograph by artist Lita Albuquerque, a widely renowned Santa Monica artist. Assemblymember Richard Bloom, representing the 50th Assembly District, also presented the honorees with State Certificates of Recognition expanding the reach of the award from city to state level.