Alexandria Commission for the Arts Announces 2008 Alex Awards Recipients

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 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 16, 2008 

Alexandria Commission for the Arts Announces 2008 Alex Awards Recipients

The Alexandria Commission for the Arts is pleased to announce the 2008 recipients of the Alex Awards: Frank Shutts, Nina Tisara, Frank Regan and Gary Thomas. The honorees will receive their awards on Friday, October 24 at the “Taste for Giving” event at the Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 N. Union St. The Alex Awards, created by the Arts Committee of the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce in 1985, honors individuals who have significantly contributed to the arts in the City of Alexandria. The honorees will receive an original work of art by Ruth Gowell or Susan Makara, as well as a brass star designed by David Martin of Goldworks. This year, the Alex Awards will recognize excellence in artistic discipline and service to the arts, and an outstanding contribution to arts education.

Frank Shutts and Nina Tisara are the recipients of the award in the Excellence in Service to the Arts category. Shutts has long been associated with the Little Theater of Alexandria (LTA). During his term as President and then as Governor for Public Relations at LTA, he established many initiatives that audience members enjoy today. Tisara has been enriching the Alexandria community through her photography for many years. Her latest project, "Living Legends of Alexandria,” is currently exhibited in City Hall. Her exhibit is a beautiful work of art that will serve as a permanent record of individuals who have made a difference in the quality of life in Alexandria. 

Frank Regan is the recipient of the award in the Excellence in Artistic Discipline category. Regan has choreographed more than 100 productions for stage and television, including numerous productions of the Miami Ballet. He is one of the most decorated ballroom dance champions in the United States and currently serves as artistic director of the American Dance Montage Theater based in Alexandria. 

Gary Thomas is the recipient of the award in the Outstanding Contributions to Arts Education category. As Curriculum Specialist for Arts and Music for Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS), Thomas is responsible for the oversight of the entire K-12 fine arts curricula. His accomplishments include the establishment of the MusicsEnergy program at T.C. Williams High School; the development of the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra with Kim Allen Kluge; and the creation of the Children's Art Festival Project with other ACPS teachers. 

The 2008 Alex Awards are held in collaboration with the Rotary Club of Alexandria. The “Taste of Giving” recognition event for the Alex Awards features food and beverages from top Alexandria restaurants; musical accompaniment by the Washington Balalaika Society; a musical presentation by the Little Theatre of Alexandria; a silent auction; the Alex Awards ceremony; and a special award presentation to the Mayor. 

Tickets for the event are now on sale for $75 per person. To purchase tickets online, please visit Sponsorships are also available. For ticket and sponsorship information, call 703.535.1200. For additional information about the Alex Awards, call the Alexandria Commission for the Arts at 703.838.6348, e-mail, or visit