Once again, Long Beach is celebrating the arts — and the artists who envision them — with the annual State of the Arts event happening next Friday.

The event is hosted every year by the Arts Council for Long Beach, and each year there's a new theme.

This year, that theme is "Arts Revolution." It centers on the outreach and community involvement of people and organizations in the arts.

According to the Arts Council board president Tasha Hunter, this year's theme recognizes the need to expand the arts and broaden the idea of what art is within the Long Beach community.

"This year's theme is very powerful," Hunter said. "We're tapping into the different meanings of art and how they're presented here in Long Beach."

State of the Arts 2017 (copy)

Griselda Suarez, left, announces Marlene Temple (second from right) the 2017 James Ackerman Philanthropy Award winner last October at the annual State of the Arts event put on by the Arts Council for Long Beach. Arts Council board president Tasha Hunter, right, looks on as Nancy Gaines (Ackerman's daughter) presents the award.

And in true State of the Arts fashion, there will be awards recognizing individuals who represent the theme. They are:

The James H. Ackerman Philanthropist Award 

The James H. Ackerman Philanthropist Award will be given to Dr. Minnie Douglas for her contribution to Long Beach arts through her many positions held within the city.

Since 2013, Douglas has been a board member at International City Theatre (ICT), and has moved into the leadership role of Vice President, where she has helped raise money for scholarships to fund theater dreams for area youth.

Douglas also volunteers with other community organizations, including St. Mary Medical Center, California Conference for Equality and Justice, Soroptimist International of Long Beach, Leadership Long Beach, National Association for Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), National Council of Negro Women (NCNW), Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, Theta Alpha Omega Chapter and The Links Incorporated, Harbor Area Chapter.

Incite/Insight Award

The Incite/Insight Award recognizes individuals who bring awareness to multifaceted arts and perspectives in the city. This year, three individuals and one organization will be presented with the award.

• Cambodia Town, Inc. The organization has hosted the annual Cambodia Town Culture Festival, providing an outlet for artists to reach out and educate other about Cambodian culture through their work.

• Jewels Long Beach — drag queen, host and entertainer — has made it a mission to give back to the city through a number of events and fundraisers. "She uses her position as an artist as a platform to help other artists succeed in their endeavors, and as a fearless advocate for the community," a release said.

• Jose Diaz, director and founder of JD Dance Company, will be recognized for his work benefitting low-income families through ballroom and cultural dance.

• Finally, Nica Rumion will be awarded the Incite/Insight Award for her contribution in establishing an art program at Stevenson Elementary. She also is the founding director of Alma Latina Long Beach Dance Company.

Creative Economy Leader

The Creative Economy Leader Award will be given to Lisa Wibroe, the organizer of the first Long Beach Open Studio Tour during October is Arts Month.

Finally, the event will have at least one surprise.

This year, the State of the Arts event will incorporate the Long Beach Unified School District, Hunter said. It's something that the Arts Council has tried to to make possible for some time, and it's finally going to be a part of this year's event, she added.

"Music is so important and we're excited to collaborate with Long Beach Unified this time around," she said. "But you're going to have to wait until next week to find out exactly what that is."

The annual State of the Arts event is happening from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 12, at the Expo Arts Center,4321 Atlantic Ave.

VIP tickets start at $50 and includes access to a special performance and cocktail hour. General admission is free, but includes the State of the Arts only.

For more information, or to purchase tickets, go to artslb.org/stateofthearts.

Stephanie Stutzman can be reached at sstutzman@gazettes.com.

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