Palm Beach County Cultural Council Announces Recipients of 2012 Muse Awards

By: Dec. 14, 2011

(Milton and Tamar Maltz are Pictured)

Palm Beach County Cultural Council

Announces Recipients of 2012 Muse Awards

Celebrating Excellence in Local Arts & Culture 

Annual Awards Will Be Presented at Gala Dinner & Show at the Kravis Center on February 9 

Rena Blades, Chief Executive Officer of the Palm Beach County Cultural Council, the official arts agency that serves non-profit cultural organizations and professional artists throughout the county, announced the recipients of the 2012 Muse Awards honoring individuals and organizations for their contributions to arts and culture throughout Palm Beach County.  

The winners of the 2012 Muse Awards are being honored at a special cocktail reception at the Gavlak Gallery in Palm Beach, hosted by Awards Co-chairs Jean Sharf and Elizabeth Neuhoff and featuring members of the Muse Awards 42-person honorary committee. 

The actual Muse Awards will be presented at an entertainment-filled dinner and show at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, Cohen Pavilion, on Thursday, February 9, from 6 to 9 p.m. The theme for the upcoming dinner and show is “Behind the Scenes.”  

“The Muse Awards not only celebrate the many wonderful contributions these recipients are making to Palm Beach County residents and visitors, but they also spotlight the intrinsic ways, both obvious and subtle, that our cultural community continues to positively impact both the local economy and our overall quality of life,” said Ms. Blades. “Of course, proceeds from the Muse Awards 2012 will once again benefit the Cultural Council’s ongoing arts and cultural education programs.” 

The 2012 Muse Award Recipients 

Outstanding Civic Leader

Milton & Tamar Maltz

The founder and former Chairman/CEO of the Malrite Communications Group, Milton Maltz has played a critical role in the development of several cultural and entertainment projects across the country, including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. and The Maltz Jupiter Theatre in Palm Beach County.  

Tamar Maltz has served on the Board of Directors for the Montefiore Home and the Friends of the Library at Siegal College, and she is founder of the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage.  Through the Maltz Family Foundation, the couple continues to support numerous cultural and philanthropic organizations.  

Outstanding Cultural Leader

Dr. Ray E. Robinson

For more than half a century, Dr. Ray Robinson has been a music educator, reviewer and visionary, who retired as Artistic Director and General Manager of the Palm Beach Symphony at the end of the 2010-2011 season. Dr. Robinson joined the faculty of Palm Beach Atlantic College in 1989 following appointments at the Peabody Conservatory of Music (Baltimore), Westminster Choir College (Princeton) and Cambridge University’s Wolfson College (England). The author of 10 books, Dr. Robinson is a specialist in the music of Felix Mendelssohn, Krzysztof Penderecki, and the works of Polish and Romanian composers.   

Outstanding Arts Educator

Stephen Backhus

An interdisciplinary artist and educator, Stephen Backhus creates site specific installations and performances that incorporate his drawings, sculptures and collages. As the Outreach Program Manager for the Milagro Center in Delray Beach, he has worked through such organizations as The Haven, The Arc, Quantum House, Virtue in a Pocket, Kids in Distress and Head Start, where his unique and tailored programs teach young people how to discover their individual creativity and reach their highest potential.   

Outstanding Art or Cultural Program of the Year

Obon, The Annual Bon Festival at the Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens

The only museum in the southeast United States dedicated to Japanese culture, the Morikami Museum & Japanese Garden is a living memorial to the Japanese community (the Yamato Colony) that first settled in Palm Beach County more than 100 years ago. Following ancient tradition, Obon, the annual Bon Festival at the Morikami celebrates the moment when, according to legend, ancestral spirits return for a visit to the living and depart to the otherworld on a journey illuminated by floating paper lanterns. For 34 years, the Morikami has celebrated Obon with a variety of activities including folk dancing, taiko drumming and a traditional Japanese street fair that attracts thousands of visitors.  

Outstanding Arts & Cultural Organization

(Budget Under $500,000)

The Palm Beach Poetry Festival

The Palm Beach Poetry Festival is a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering the writing, reading, performance, and appreciation of poetry by presenting an annual festival in Delray Beach featuring America's finest poets, plus numerous other poetry events in Palm Beach County throughout the year. The Festival is a nationally recognized learning opportunity for writers of poetry and a world-class, life-enriching series of cultural events for listening audiences including workshops, public readings, late night open mic events, a high school poetry contest and more. The eighth annual Palm Beach Poetry Festival will be held January 16-21 at Old School Square in Delray Beach. 

Outstanding Arts & Cultural Organization

(Budget Over $500,000)

Boca Raton Museum of Art

Over the last 60 years, the Boca Raton Museum of Art has evolved into one of the leading cultural institutions in South Florida achieving international recognition as a world-class visual arts institution, presenting dynamic traveling exhibitions from acclaimed and emerging artists, and an outstanding permanent collection.  Some of the Museum’s programs include art films, artist lectures, family programs, the Annual Art Festival and more than 100 classes a week at its highly respected studio Art School. 

Herbert Ubertalli Award for Visual Arts

Carol Prusa

An award-winning visual artist, Carol Prusa has exhibited her work in numerous museums including the American Museum of Arts and Design in New York City and the Triennial Exhibition of German and American Artists that traveled to the Museum for Angewandte Kunst in Frankfort. Other recent exhibitions include the Miami Art Museum, Boston’s DeCordova Museum, the Museum of Art in Fort Lauderdale,  Lousiana Museum of Art and Science, Frist Center for the Arts in Nashville, Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in North Carolina and more. Ms. Prusa recently completed public art commissions for the University of Florida and Florida Atlantic University, and has received visual art fellowships from the South Florida Cultural Consortium and the Howard Foundation through Brown University.  

Council’s Choice Award

Andrew Kato

Now celebrating his sixth anniversary as Artistic Director of the Maltz Jupiter Theatre, Andrew Kato has produced more than 30 major shows. He has been the Creative Consultant/Coordinating Producer for the annual Tony Awards for the last seven years and has served as Executive Producer of the Cultural Council’s last five Muse Award presentations. Kato has produced numerous Broadway concerts, including Chess in Concert starring Josh Groban, the 20th anniversary Concert Benefit of Dreamgirls with Audra McDonald, Funny Girl In Concert, the Original Broadway Cast Reunion Concert of Once on This Island and the 10th anniversary concert version of Into the Woods.  Most recently, he conceived and directed the award-winning musical Academy at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre and for limited engagements in New York City and South Korea. 

About the Muse Awards Presentation:

Tickets to attend the Muse Awards gala dinner and show on February 9 at the Kravis Center are $300 per person. In addition, sponsorship opportunities are still available. 

For more information, please contact Melissa Santee, Cultural Council’s Director of Development, by phone (561.472.3340) or email (, or visit




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