Arts Council Honors

Arts Council Honors

2015 Recipients

Recipient of the Chairman’s Award, Carlos Miguel Prieto is music director of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. Although Prieto had only been named Music Director a week prior to Hurricane Katrina, eight months after the storm he conducted the orchestra for their first show back in the city. By conducting over 50 world premieres of works by both Mexican and American composers he is recognized as the leading Mexican conductor of his generation. During his time with the Louisiana Philharmonic international soloists such as Joshua Bell, Yo-Yo Ma, and Gil Shaham have performed with the orchestra. As a graduate of Princeton and Harvard universities, Prieto is also an accomplished violinist and has performed as a soloist with Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Mexico.


John Desplas is a founding member of the New Orleans Film Society and currently its Artistic Director Emeritus. Through his involvement with the film society, he has helped expand an appreciation of film as an aesthetic endeavor as well as an entertainment medium. His efforts have brought the work of local, national, and international filmmakers to New Orleans audiences during a period of radical technological change in the presentation of the moving image. He has witnessed the transformation of the New Orleans Film Festival from a mostly parochial event to one acknowledged by the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences. In addition the society produces several other yearly film events, including filmOrama, a children’s film festival, and summer’s French Film Festival, as well as special screenings and outdoor movies throughout the year. And in 1995, Mr. Desplas was named a “Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” by the Ministry of Culture of the French government.


Clifton Webb, co-founder of the New Orleans Contemporary Arts Center, has shown his work locally and nationally for 30 years. His work is included in the permanent collection of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art and the New Orleans Museum of Art. He has exhibited at the Atlanta Arts Festival, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Max Hutchinson Gallery in New York City, and other venues. From 1980 to 2005 Clifton Webb taught in the New Orleans Public School’s Talented in Visual Arts program. He currently stands on the board of the Creative Alliance of New Orleans.


Big Chief Darryl Montana of the Yellow Pocahontas “Hunters” Black Indian tribe as a fourth generation Black “masking” Indian. Big Chief Darryl, youngest son of Allison “Big Chief Tootie” Montana, is a 2014 United States Artists Glasgow Fellow and a 2012 Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Award recipient. He has instructed over 1,000 students through programs like the Xavier University Mardi Gras Indian Summer Arts. In 1995 Montana and his wife, Sabrina Mays-Montana founded Faces of Culture / Allison Montana Institute of Art, Culture and Tradition, a multifaceted nonprofit of cultural preservation.


Carol Sutton is a native of New Orleans who has been acting for almost 50 years. She began her career with Dashiki Project Theatre under the leadership of the Legendary Dr. Theodore Gilliam. She has performed countless theatrical productions in New Orleans, California, and New York where she first appeared as Vernel Bagneris’ One Mo’ Time and Staggerlee. Ms. Sutton has appeared in more than 70 theatrical and TV movies beginning with “The Autobuiography of Miss. Jane Pittman.” Other movies she is featured in include Steel Magnolias, Ray, Runaway Jury, Monster’s Ball, The Help, 21 Jump Street, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, This is the End, The Free State of Jones, and the Alicia Key’s video The Fire We Make to name a few. Her future releases are Showing Roots, Wild Oats, Confirmation and Roots. Ms. Sutton is a recipient of numerous awards including The Big Easy Lifetime Achievement Award for excellence on stage.


For the past three decades, photographers Keith Calhoun and Chandra McCormick have documented New Orleans’ African American culture, and community. Together they archive Louisiana traditions and ways of life that are no longer prominent. Their work also highlights celebration and struggles of everyday life. In 2007 they opened L9 Center for the Arts, in the neighborhood they both grew up in, the Lower 9th ward of New Orleans. Their black and white photography often crosses the realm of social commentary. Their recent series titled “Angola” does just this on the Angola Prison and the greater effects of the prison system. The series was recently exhibited at the Venice Biennale which is among the oldest and most revered art exhibits in the world.


At the age of six Rene Brunet Jr. attended the first re-opening of the Prytania Theatre. Now 92-years-old he is known as the patriarch of the New Orleans movie scene and the current owner of New Orleans’ famed cinema, the Prytania Theatre. Brunet is deeply committed to the movie scene as well as the community. After Hurricane Katrina he offered free admissions to first responders for many of the ensuing months. Brunet is responsible for reopening and revamping the Joy Theater. He has received several merits from the City of New Orleans for his work in the motion picture industry.


Since 1977 The Dirty Dozen Brass Band has been mixing their pot of music gumbo by adding funk, bebop, and other styles to the traditional brass band sound. The band grew out of a youth music program established by Danny Barker at New Orleans’ Fairview Baptist Church. They were initially called the Original Sixth Ward Dirty Dozen to show their connection to the Tremé neighborhood and the local social scene. The band’s success created a resurgence of New Orleans brass band music locally and nationally. To celebrate their 35th anniversary, the world-traveling band plans on releasing Twenty Dozens, their first studio release in six years.


The Ogden Museum of Southern Art aims to educate patrons with visual art pieces that focus on the culture of the American South through its services and programs. Beginning as a private collection of Roger Ogden, the museum contains the largest collection of Southern art, which has included pieces from 1733 to present helps to preserve the genre of southern art. The Ogden hosts a variety of educational programs aimed to increase literacy and art education in New Orleans public schools. Many summer camp programs are available at the Ogden with focuses ranging from fashion to photography to drama. Currently, the Ogden is working to restore the Patrick F. Taylor library.