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The 2016 Cleveland Arts Prize Honorees Include Groundbreakers and Tastemakers in Music, Poetry and Dance

"Out of the Woods and Into the Ring" 2015 (PHOTO Kristen Cliffel)

by David C. Barnett

An electronic music innovator, an elder statesman of singing, and a dancer who challenged perceptions about physical disabilities are among the winners of the 2016 Cleveland Arts Prize.  

The Arts Prize recognizes a range of area artists --- from those who have left their mark over a lengthy career, to young innovators, pointing to new trends in the art world.

Dancing Wheels founder Mary Verdi Fletcher won a Lifetime Achievement award for her pioneering work as the country's first professional wheelchair dancer.

Ceramic artist Kristen Cliffel, along with conductor and violinist Liza Grossman are Mid-Career prize winners

Electronic music composer John Elliott and poet Dave Lucas are being honored as Emerging Artists

96-year-old Singing Angels founder William Boehm won the Martha Joseph Prize for his life-long artistic leadership.

The Arts Prize also recognizes the achievements of Northeast Ohioans who have helped encourage an appreciation of the arts.  In that regard, ideastream's own Dee Perry is the 2016 winner of the Robert Bergman Prize, annually awarded for arts stewardship.

In addition, noted architect and previous Arts Prize winner Peter van Dijk will get a special special tribute at the awards ceremony, which takes place at the Cleveland Museum of Art in June.

The Cleveland Arts Prize has been awarded since 1961

David C. Barnett was a senior arts & culture reporter for Ideastream Public Media. He retired in October 2022.