This Award encourages creativity and innovation in the arts in Southern Arizona.
It was established by Buffalo Exchange owners Kerstin Block and her late husband, Spencer Block, to encourage creativity, innovation, and excellence in the arts. The focus of the award rotates each year between emerging artists in the performing arts and visual arts, and individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the arts through education, organization, and advocacy.
Artists are nominated and selected by two separate panels of experts familiar with the Southern Arizona Arts scene. Since 1994, more than $200,000 have been awarded through this fund held at the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona.
Congratulations to Dante Celeiro, the recipient of the 2018 Buffalo Exchange Contributor to the Arts Award!
Originally from NYC, Dante has been involved in social activism & the arts community for more than 25 years. After 12 years of working with the Gays Men’s Health Crises, Callen-Lorde Health Center, and CDC & heavily involved in the underground Ball Scene, Dante headed to the Southwest. While starting the Tucson AIDS memorial quilt panels @ SAAF, he began managing Boys R Us, Arizona’s First Gender Performance Troupe. Some of his accomplishments include winner of the 2009 Pima Arts Council Festival Grant, 2012 The Rainbow Keshet Award for Civil Rights Activist from the Tucson Jewish Federation, and the 2012 Lumie for Emerging Arts Organization from the Tucson Pima Arts Council.
While performing in local bars & traveling the country, a need for creating safe spaces was clear, and Fluxx was born. The first and only Cultural Community Arts Organization in the Southwest. Fluxx encourages open dialogue and communication about queer culture to bridge gaps in understanding, acceptance and change. Their goal is to increase visibility and promote the creation of queer arts and culture, by providing a platform for expression and exchange.
Eli Burke, who nominated Dante for the award, cited that Dante’s goal is always community. Creating access and opportunities for growth and visibility is what he has committed his life to. He genuinely cares about the LGBTQIA+ community and it shows through the community work he does and the art he creates through performance. “Dante has worked his entire adult life serving the community,” says Burke, “and if anyone deserves this award, it is him.”
2017 Performing Arts / Nathanael Gregory Myers
Nominees: Alan Gonzalez, Logan Phillips, Milta Ortiza and Teodoro Eldridge
2016 Visual Arts / Rachael Rios
Nominees: Alejandro Castelar, Alex Jimenez, Lester Aguirre, Tanya Rich and Zoya Reyna
2015 Arts Contribution / Rick Wamer
2014 Performing Arts / Chris Black
Nominees: Geneva Foster Gluck, Katie Haverly, Morgan McKenna, Sergio Mendoza
2013 Visual Arts / Brenna Curry
Nominees: Dirk Arnold, Alexis Chiquete, Brooke Grucella, Josh Schachter
2012 Arts Contribution / Stephen Romaniello
2011 Performing Arts / Ashley Shea Bowman
Nominees: Jose Luis Baca, Kaia Chesney, Christopher Johnson, Joe Pagac
2010 Visual Arts / Heather Green
Nominees: Kim Largey, Ruben Urrea Moreno, Lisa M. Robinson, Johnathan VanBallenberghe
2009 Arts Contribution / Andrew W. Rush
2008 Performing Arts / Brendan Guy Murphy
Nominees: Simon Donovan, Kimi Eisele, Elizabeth Kruse-Craig, Mark McLemor
2007 Visual Arts / Martin Quintanilla
Nominees: Jill Renee Smith, Matt Cotton, Rosanna Solania, S.J. Gibson
2006 Arts Contribution / Giulio Scalinger
2005 Performing Arts / Beth Braun
Nominees: Faitha Lowe-Bailey, Mary Ann Brehmn
2004 Visual Arts / Gwyneth Scally
Nominees: David Aguirre, Francisco Rodriguez-Maruca
2003 Arts Contribution / Paul Fisher
2002 Performing Arts / Samantha Wyer
Nominees: Leigh Ann Rangel & Tammy Rosen, Michael Walk
2001 Visual Arts / Cristina Cardena
Nominees: Joshua Goldberg, Catherine Nash
2000 Arts Contribution / Carroll Rinehart
1999 Performing Arts / Albert Tucci
Nominees: Melissa Lowe, Korby Myrick
1998 Visual Arts / Daniel Martin Diaz
Nominees: David Brown, Michael Cajero, Margaret Lauderback, David Tineo, Carlos Valenzuela
1997 Arts Contribution / James Griffith
1996 Performing Arts / Carol McLaughlin
Nominees: Chieko Imada, David Rife, Barbea Williams
1994 Visual Arts / Todd Walker
Nominees: Joshua Goldberg, Barbara Grygutis, Suzanne Knosp, Kevin Osborn