Wayne State honors outstanding alumni at March 23, 2016 Arts Achievement Awards

[February 2 Update:  Unfortunately, Bill Prady's schedule will preclude him from receiving the CFPCA 2016 Arts Advocacy Award. We look forward to Mr. Prady's participation in the 2017 Arts Achievement Awards.]

The College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts presents Wayne State University's 37th Arts Achievement Awards. At this event, outstanding alumni and former students of Wayne State University are recognized for their dedication to, and advocacy for, the arts and communication and for achievements in their respective fields.

Wayne State’s Arts Achievement Awards event takes place March 23, 2016, 4:30pm, in the ballroom of the university’s beautifully renovated Student Center. It is free and open to the public. The RSVP has closed but walk-up attendees are welcomed.

A live stream of the awards ceremony will begin at approx. 5pm via our WSU-Arts Ustream account:

2016 Arts Achievement Awards Honorees

Lynne Avadenka (Career Achievement Award in the Field of Art and Art History) was born in 1955 in Pontiac, Michigan. She earned her Wayne State BFA in 1978 and MFA in 1981. She has received numerous awards including individual artist grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs. Avadenka received a Kresge Fellowship in 2009, the inaugural year of the program. Her work is exhibited widely and is in the permanent collections of these selected institutions: New York Public Library; Jewish Museum, NY; Detroit Institute of Arts; Bibliotecha Rosenthaliana, Amsterdam; Bibliothek zu Berlin; British Library, London; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Library of Congress, Washington D.C.; Meermano Museum, the Hague. Selected solo exhibitions have been held at University of Michigan’s Institute for the Humanities; Jerusalem Print Workshop, Israel; Galerie Eva Bracke, Berlin; Center for Book Arts, New York and Yeshiva University Museum, New York. Avadenka is artistic director of Signal-Return Press, a community letterpress print shop in Detroit's historic Eastern Market neighborhood.

James Curnow (Career Achievement Award in the Field of Music) is president, composer and educational consultant for Curnow Music Press. As a conductor, composer and clinician, Curnow has traveled throughout the U.S., Canada, Australia, Japan and Europe. He has won several awards for band compositions, including the ASBDA/Volkwein Composition Award in 1977 (Symphonic Triptych) and 1979 (Collage for Band), the ABA/Ostwald Award in 1980 (Mutanza) and 1984 (Symphonic Variants for Euphonium and Band), the 1985 Sixth International Competition of Original Compositions for Band (Australian Variants Suite), the 1994 Coup de Vents Composition Competition of Le Havre, France (Lochinvar), commission through recognition of the KMTNA 1997 (On Poems of John Keats for String Quartet) and Second Place in the 2001 International Trumpet Guild Composition Competition (Three Episodes for Trumpet and Piano). Curnow has been commissioned to write over two hundred works for concert band, brass band, orchestra, choir and various vocal and instrumental ensembles. His published works now number well over four hundred.

Della Hamby (Career Achievement Award in the Field of Dance) is a dynamic, full force entertainer made in Detroit. Also known as “DellaLICIOUS,” she has rocked stages all over the world with today’s renowned artists and most eminent projects. As a professional dancer, MTV Wild N Out Girl, actress, model, choreographer, movement coach and beyond, she embodies pure talent and unmistakable grace. Growing up, she was a Romulus High School honor student, elite athlete, prom queen, band geek, peer mediator, print model, varsity cheer captain and international pageant title holder. After her feature on season two of America’s Best Dance Crew, she was inspired to move to Los Angeles where she is living her dreams. Hamby has been featured in commercials, movies, live shows, international tours, music videos, print and more. As her career breaks through, she continues to train, create and build a strong relationship with God. When she is not performing, her favorite things to do are laugh until she can't breathe, travel, dream, call her mom, Pinterest, eat tacos, take selfies and TWERK!

Shawn Kahle (Career Achievement Award in the Field of Communication) is vice president of communications and executive director at Assurant Foundation, Assurant Inc. Assurant Foundation provides financial assistance to nonprofit organizations to improve the quality of life in the communities they inhabit. Kahle is the foundation’s executive director and is VP of communications of New York City-headquartered Assurant Inc., which provides life, casualty property and health insurance products. In the Detroit area, Kahle served on numerous civic and nonprofit boards during her tenure at Kmart Corp. as vice president of corporate affairs and as president and CEO of the Michigan Science Center. She is a former member of Wayne State University's communication faculty.

Sam Richardson (Career Achievement Award in the Field of Theatre) is an actor and writer. He co-stars on HBO’s Emmy winning TV series Veep. He also is known for his work in Spy, We're the Millers and Horrible Bosses 2. He was nominated for a 2010 Joseph Jefferson Award for Actor in a Revue for Spoiler Alert: Everybody Dies at the Second City Theatre in Chicago. His revue, South Side of Heaven, at Second City was nominated for the 2011 Equity Joseph Jefferson Award for New Work - Musical or Revue. Richardson also was nominated for the 2011 Equity Joseph Jefferson Award for Actor or Actress in a Revue for South Side of Heaven.

The College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts at Wayne State University serves 2,500 students majoring in 16 undergraduate and 13 graduate programs through the James Pearson Duffy Department of Art and Art History, the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance, the Department of Music and the Department of Communication. Wayne State University, located in the heart of Detroit’s Midtown Cultural Center, is a premier urban research institution offering more than 380 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to more than 27,000 students.


Contact:  Laura Orme, (313) 577-5336, lauraorme@wayne.edu

Photo credit: Deborah Kingery