Hump day offered a double shot of adrenaline for Twin Cities playwright, director and theater founder Rhiana Yazzie (pictured above). On Wednesday she launched the second annual National Native American Ten Minute Play Festival in St Paul.
It was also the day when it was also announced that Yazzie had won a Sally Ordway Irvine Award, which honors “individuals and institutions that… enrich the state through their commitment to the arts.” Yazzie was lauded for her vision. She’s one of five winners of the Sally, named for the founder of the Ordway Center.
Writer and performer J. Otis Powell! was honored for his commitment to his craft and for his teaching and mentorship. Powell co-edited the ground-breaking anthology “Blues Vision” and was the founding producer of KFAI’s literary broadcast, “Write On Radio!” His latest book is “Waiting for a Spaceship.”
Hunter Gullickson, the accessibility manager of the Guthrie Theater, was honored with the arts access award for his work spearheading the theater’s access programs, including American Sign Language interpretation, audio description, open captioning and Braille publications.
Hmong performer Bee Yang was honored with the Sally for initiative for his preservation of song poetry, which retells the history and culture of his forebears. He has recorded two albums and is the subject of “The Song Poet,” a memoir written by his daughter, Kao Kalia Yang.
The Sally for education went to Z Puppets Rosenschnoz, a quirky, humorous Twin Cities-based troupe that tours nationally and often is accompanied by live music. Founders Shari Aronson and Chris Griffith have garnered national recognition.
The Sallys will be presented in an Oct. 16 in a ceremony at the Ordway Center, hosted by former broadcaster and arts champion Robyne Robinson.