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Monmouth Arts Education Awards honor outstanding achievements in arts education

As each school year comes to a close, Monmouth Arts recognizes outstanding arts educators, arts advocates, and arts organizations and leaders in Monmouth County who support the mission of enriching the community by inspiring and fostering the arts.

The Monmouth Arts Education Awards will be held on June 9, hosted by Monmouth Museum on the campus of Brookdale Community College, Lincroft, according to a press release.

Monmouth Arts will welcome students, parents, teachers and community arts supporters for a special evening honoring and acknowledging the power of arts education in Monmouth County.

The night will honor four individuals and organizations with four awards.

The 2022 Community Champion of Arts Education Award will be presented to Domenica Donna Como, owner of Color Chips, for her efforts in advocating for the arts and education.

The 2022 Arts Education Advocate Leader Award will be presented to Jeremy Martin, supervisor of visual, performing and industrial arts at Long Branch Public Schools, for his support of educational arts programming in the community.

The 2022 Award for Outstanding Educator in Visual Arts will be presented to Brittany James, art instructor at Inspired Minds Fine Art School, Lincroft and Brielle, and art629 Gallery, Asbury Park, for her dedication to aspiring artists.

The 2022 Award for Outstanding Educator in Performing Arts will be presented to Michael Penna, theater and English teacher at Collier High School, Marlboro, for inspiring many young artists.

Additionally, three high school seniors will be awarded Monmouth Arts Emerging Artist Scholarships in support of their arts studies in higher education, according to the press release.

The 2022 MC2 Scholarship for Performing Arts, for students of music, dance and theater, will be awarded to Amya Johnson-Ashe of Monmouth Regional High School, Tinton Falls, for her achievements in vocal music.

Amya, who is a senior at Monmouth Regional, will be studying political science and music at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.

In 2022, Amya won the Special Evaluation award from the Count Basie Center for the Arts for her role as Audrey II in “Little Shop of Horrors.”

Her passion for singing has enabled her to compete in the McDonald’s Gospelfest at the Prudential Center, Newark, for three seasons, performing on stage for thousands of people including notable singers Donnie McClurkin, Cissy Houston and Fantasia, according to the press release.

The 2022 Grunin Foundation Scholarship for the Arts, for students in fashion, film, photography and visual arts, will be awarded to Emma Ekberg of Communications High School, Wall Township, for her achievements in visual arts.

Emma is a senior at Communications High School. She will attend the Fashion Institute of Technology for fashion design. Emma hopes to make positive changes in the fashion industry, including more inclusive body representation and sizing in garment production and modeling, as well as addressing the environmental impact of the trend cycles and fast fashion, according to the press release.

The 50th Anniversary Emerging Artist Scholarship for Literary Arts will be awarded to Dakim Randolph of Asbury Park High School for his achievements in the literary arts.

Dakim is a senior at Asbury Park. He will be pursuing a career in creative writing and journalism at Brookdale Community College and Seton Hall University upon graduating.

Dakim is an active member of his school community. In addition to being a talented writer, he is also on the track and field team and is a member of the National Honor Society and Student Council. He hopes to discover the world by expressing his thoughts through writing, according to the press release.

The Emerging Artist Scholarships were made possible by funding from the Grunin Foundation, MC2 Funding the Arts, and Sarah Fischell, according to the press release.

Monmouth Arts is an independent arts advocacy organization that delivers programs and services to artists, member organizations and arts affiliates to ensure the arts thrive in and throughout Monmouth County. Its mission is to enrich the community by inspiring and fostering the arts, according to the press release.

Monmouth Arts’ programs are made possible in part through funding from the Monmouth County Board of County Commissioners, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

To purchase tickets to the June 9 Arts Education Awards, visit monmoutharts.org/artseducationawards

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