John W. Rutherford, 2022 Bloomfield Cultural Arts Award
Honored ‘for nurturing artistic voices,’ Rutherford enjoys an extraordinarily loyal following of generations of parents, students, and members of the community. He is a teacher and director at Birmingham Groves High School, the artistic and educational director of Village Youth Theatre, and uses his own funds to run the independent “Barebones Theatre Productions” company. During the pandemic, Rutherford used digital rehearsals and performances, virtual competition platforms, produced plays written by professional playwrights with adult actors, created a Zoom playwriting and acting workshop that helped develop original scripts for production, and found ways to entertain community audiences with socially distanced and outdoor theatre opportunities. His efforts to help all people find their voice through speech and theatre are renowned in our community as acknowledged by his receiving numerous state level awards such as the GUVVY Arts Educator Award as well as his induction into both the Michigan Educational Theatre Association Hall of Fame and the Michigan Speech Coaches, Inc Hall of Fame.
Howard Hertz, 2022 Special Lifetime Achievement Award
An entertainment lawyer whose client list reads like a ‘Who’s Who’ in celebrity America, Hertz is the recipient of a special lifetime achievement award as a ‘champion for artistic freedom’, honoring the huge impact his volunteer work has had in Michigan and beyond. As a long-standing board member of the Sphinx Organization, Howard Hertz encourages, mentors, and creates opportunities for underserved young populations in the world of classical music. His pro-bono work with up-and-coming musicians, writers and artists helps protect intellectual freedom at a time when books and all forms of art have come under political scrutiny. Additionally, his indefatigable efforts to support the growing film industry in Michigan, and his long-term presidency of the Detroit Music Awards Foundation–which was recently awarded an Emmy for its 30th year broadcast —are just some examples of his huge impact on the arts community and artists.
Village Players, 2022 Partners with the Arts Award
Celebrating its centennial in Birmingham this year, the Village Players are being celebrated foe ‘One hundred years of vibrant community theatre’. The award is given directly by the Cultural Council to honor a business, non-profit or organization in our community that supports the arts in a distinguished manner.