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For further information, please contact:
Meri Erickson
(203) 561-7798
Angela Whitford
Executive Director
Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County 

(203) 256-2329

April 21, 2017                                                      
Broadway Actress Kelli O’Hara offers keynote at June 7th Awards Breakfast

NORWALK, CT, April 21, 2017 -- The Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County (CAFC) proudly announces the winners of its second annual Arts & Culture Empowerment (ACE) Awards, a celebration of individuals, organizations, and businesses who have made significant contributions to the Fairfield County community through arts and culture.

The awardees will be honored at the ACE Awards Breakfast on June 7th, 7:30 – 9:00 am at The Shore and Country Club in Norwalk. Master of Ceremonies, James Naughton, Tony Award winning actor and singer, will kick off the event, followed by keynote speaker Kelli O’Hara, unequivocally one of Broadway’s great leading ladies, and a Tony Award winning actor and singer. Tickets for the Breakfast are now on sale at

“We are delighted to once again host the ACE Awards, and are thrilled by the many nominations we received, which not only validates the wide range of amazing talent in our own backyard, but also demonstrates the interest and dedication of the many patrons of the arts in Fairfield County who were moved to nominate their favorite artist, organization or business,” said Angela Whitford, Executive Director.

The 2017 ACE Awards winners:
ACE Award, Corporate: Spinnaker Real Estate Partners maintains a high level of commitment to strengthening the communities it serves. Well-regarded in the industry for its commitment to the communities it operates in, its high design standards and the ability to execute complex and difficult mixed use projects, Spinnaker is known for its culture of collaboration and the ability to create private/public partnerships with state, community and nonprofit stakeholders to produce projects of lasting value.

ACE Award Artist: Shanna Melton is an award-winning poet, painter and art consultant based in Bridgeport. In addition to sharing her words, paintings, and ideas with audiences around the world, she has curated numerous artistic events, bringing artists and musicians together to share their work and inspire others. In 2011, Shanna was presented with the State of Connecticut’s Woman to Know Award, given to those who create positive change in their communities and earlier this year, she received the 2017 Humanitarian Award from The Al-Aziz Islamic Center for “Being a Positive Example in the Community.”

ACE Award, Nonprofit: Silvermine Arts Center has produced many significant, cutting-edge art exhibitions over the years, bringing in curators and artists from progressive art enclaves throughout the Northeast. The Center prides itself on giving Connecticut artists opportunities for recognition on a larger stage. Its commitment to inclusion has increased awareness of the rich arts scene throughout Fairfield County. Founded in 1908 as a place where artists gathered, it added its Guild of Artists in 1922 (now with more than 300 professional artist members), and its School of Art in 1924, that today provides art classes for all levels of experience from ages 2 to 102, and many outreach programs in the Norwalk and Stamford schools.

ACE Award, Educator: Pamela Kuhn is an operatic soprano who has performed more than 20 operatic roles on operatic stages across Europe and the United States. Locally, she is the creator, music director and conductor of the Angel Choir, dedicated to performing for cancer patients, survivors, caregivers and others who benefit from the rehabilitative power of music. Pamela is recognized as a particularly effective personal mentor, generously championing the growth and successes of her young singers, and, furthering the tradition of fine recital repertoire coaching, produces The Art of Song series that gives young singers an opportunity to showcase their talents. Pamela also hosts a weekly radio talk show on 1490 WGCH about the arts and the artists behind their work. 

ACE Award, Citizen: Michael Widland, attorney with Shipman & Goodwin, has a passion for the arts and has been involved in many arts and cultural institutions in Fairfield County throughout his career. He currently serves on the board of the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk and the Mill River Park Collaborative, among others. In 2012, Michael played a pivotal role in saving the Stamford Center for the Arts (SCA), using his experience with both corporate restructurings and not-for-profits to successfully guide this major cultural arts organization through bankruptcy, reorganization and —ultimately— revitalization.

The 2017 ACE Awards are supported by Platinum Sponsors: Cohen and Wolf, Hobbs Inc., Shipman & Goodwin, and United Capital; Gold Sponsor: Studio2.0, LLC.; and Silver Sponsor: Berchem, Moses & Devlin, P.C. Sponsorship opportunities are still available at various levels. For more information, contact

Broadway actress Kelli O’Hara will be this year’s Cultural Alliance ACE Awards keynote speaker on June 7.
The Cultural Alliance of Fairfield Countya 501(c)(3) nonprofit service organization that was founded in 2008, serves more than 500 arts and culture organizations, creative businesses, artists, libraries and municipal members, with major support from the Connecticut Office of the Arts. The mission of the organization is to support its membership—and the cultural sector—by providing unified marketing, capacity building, professional development, and advocacy services. The website, is a free, comprehensive cultural calendar where members market their events, and which brings news of all the latest arts and cultural events across Fairfield County to the public. For artists and cultural organizations, the Cultural Alliance provides bi-weekly newsletters featuring news about its members and many professional opportunities. The Cultural Alliance provides a range of professional development and networking opportunities for its members, including quarterly Executive Directors Network and Marketing Roundtable meetings and sector conversations. The Cultural Alliance facilitates the Fairfield County Preservation Network and is the regional leadership partner for Spacefinder Connecticut, a free space-matching service for artists and cultural organizations.
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Media Contact: Meri Erickson
(203) 561-7798
Additional Support
 for The Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County is provided by:
Gate Lodge at Mathews Park, 301 West Ave, Norwalk, CT 06850, United States
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