The Avenue of the Arts is having a party – and it’s one you don’t want to miss! The Avenue of the Arts, Inc is holding its premier fundraising event, the Visionary Awards, on April 22 and we hope you’ll be able to join us!

We’ve got it all just waiting for you – the location –the first peek at the newest destination on the Avenue, the magnificent luxury condominium Arthaus. Two amazing legendary honorees – Joan Myers Brown of PHILADANCO! and Christine Cox of BalletX. Entertainment by our own University of the Arts jazz quintet and pianist extraordinaire Gary Snyder. A full-out pas de deux by BalletX dancers. Food by 12th Street Catering. All topped off by emcee Cherri Gregg from WHYY. And all to support, celebrate, honor and welcome Philadelphia back to our city’s greatest street!

AAI executive director Laura Burkhardt sat down with co-chairs of this year’s event, Tim Moir and Nina Zucker to get the scoop.

Laura Burkhardt (LB): How did the idea for the Visionary awards come to be?
Tim Moir (TM)/Nina Zucker (NZ): Since 2011, the Avenue of the Arts, Inc. had been holding an annual fundraising gala. In 2019, the AAI board decided it was time to thank people or businesses who had an impact on the Avenue of the Arts. We felt the best way to do that was to introduce an annual award that would recognize the visionaries who make the Avenue of the Arts a special place in Philadelphia.

LB: What makes someone a “visionary”?
TM/NZ: Well, the dictionary definition is “someone who is thinking about or planning the future with imagination or wisdom.” For us, we give this honor to someone whose work has contributed to the transformation of the City’s premier cultural corridor, the Avenue of the Arts. That certainly described our inaugural recipients, the Honorable Ed Rendell and real estate developer, Carl Dranoff. Their trailblazing efforts to redevelop S. Broad Street, renamed the Avenue of the Arts upon the completion of the Kimmel Center in 2001, resulting in over $1 billion dollars in new real estate investment, 500 new luxury residential units, and a new arts venue. The 2020 award was bestowed upon real estate developer Brooke Lenfest and Sharon Pinkenson, executive director of the Greater Philadelphia Film Office, for bringing international acclaim to the Avenue of the Arts through hospitality and film. Lenfest built the W Hotel, a global hotel brand that chooses only world-class locations for its edgy lifestyle hotel concept rooted in fashion, design, music, and the arts. Pinkenson brought both attention and economic development to the city and the Avenue through movies such as In Her Shoes, Philadelphia, Trading Places, the Sixth Sense, Twelve Monkeys, and Mannequin.

LB: Tim, you are also the Chair of the Friends of the Avenue of the Arts. Can you tell us a little bit about the Friends?
TM: The Friends of the Avenue of the Arts is an all-volunteer neighborhood organization that is governed by and a part of Avenue of the Arts, Inc. Friends was created to form a community of residents, frequent visitors, and people who work on the Avenue of the Arts through social and networking events. This active group of 2,600 are patrons of the Arts and support AAI stakeholders.

LB: Why are the Friends instrumental to the success of the Visionary Awards gala?
TM: Friends of the Avenue of the Arts support AAI’s fundraising goals by being a primary force in organizing the annual event. These volunteers make up the bulk of the committee that organizes the event and Friends’ members are the source of most the individual ticket sales.

LB: Why are this year’s honorees important to the Avenue of the Arts?
TM/NZ: This year, we will honor two of our city’s most respected and beloved arts visionaries: Joan Myers Brown, the founder/Executive Advisor and retired artistic director of PHILADANCO! (Philadelphia Dance Company), and Christine Cox, the co-founder and Artistic and Executive Director of BalletX, Philadelphia’s premier contemporary dance company.

LB: What can we expect at this year’s event?
TM/NZ: The 2022 Visionary Awards will be held at the brand new Arthaus Condominiums on the Avenue of the Arts. And gorgeous does not begin to describe it! Get ready to be wowed! From delicious food, wine and spirits to performances by super talented University of the Arts jazz musicians, a beyond amazing pianist and a special performance by the dancers of BalletX, to the exceptional and memorable ceremony celebrating our two extraordinary honorees, the event will stretch over two stories of magnificent indoor and outdoor spaces that make up the Arthaus amenity floors and the truly breathtaking views across the city of Philadelphia. You do not want to miss this!

LB: Wow, it does sound fabulous! How do you buy a ticket?
TM/NZ: So, easy. Just click on this link.

LB: And if they want to be a sponsor?
TM/NZ: Laura, you can handle that right? Potential sponsors should contact Laura at 215.834.1976 or
LB: Let the phone ring!

LB: Tell me. I have only been ED at AAI for 8 months. You both have been involved with the Avenue of the Arts for a long time. What is your favorite memory of something you experienced on Avenue of the Arts?
TM: I love the Friends of the Avenue of the Arts events that bring together divergent stakeholders on the Avenue. Receptions like the ones at Volver before a Philadelphia Chamber Music Society concert bring together Garces, PCMS, the Kimmel Center, residents, and visitors to the Avenue the Arts.

LB: Nina, How about you?
NZ: I have been a longtime PR/marketing consultant for, and supporter of, the city’s arts and culture community throughout my career, helping to create major moments on the Avenue, from the opening of the Suzanne Roberts Theatre, to the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts, and countless opening nights, bringing both resident and tourist audiences to the Avenue every year.

LB: And what everyone always wants to know- where are you eating on the Avenue of the Arts these days?
TM: I am eating at Steak 48. For entertaining friends and family, a quick bite and drink at the bar, or holding our company’s annual holiday party, it’s a great addition to the Avenue.
NZ: My faves include both restaurant and bar at Estia (wonderful theatre menu!), seafood at McCormick & Schmick, and quick bites or cocktails before a concert at Volver.

LB: Tim, Nina, thanks for all you do for the Avenue of the Arts! See you on the 22nd.