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City Councilman Kwanza Hall awarded the 2012 Rialto Pioneer Award | Arts & Culture

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City Councilman Kwanza Hall awarded the 2012 Rialto Pioneer Award
City Councilman Kwanza Hall awarded the 2012 Rialto Pioneer Award

ATLANTA --  Georgia State University's Rialto Center for the Arts awarded Councilman Kwanza Hall, representative of District 2, their 2012 Pioneer Award.  

The Rialto's Pioneer Award is given annually to distinguished leaders who have contributed significantly to the health and vitality of the city's arts and cultural communities and/or Georgia State's far-reaching mission as a great university in the heart of a major city. It was named to honor the "pioneering spirit" of the remarkable vision that led to the renovation of the Rialto by Georgia State in the early 1990s.  

The award was presented before the start of The Idan Raichel & Vieux Farka Touré Quartet - Two Cultures, One Voice:  Israel Meets Mali on Saturday, April 21, 2012 at 8 PM. 

Kwanza's vision for the city and the visionary music created by the half Israeli-half Mali band, made for a great evening of entertainment at the Rialto.


The award is named the "Pioneer" since the renovation of the derelict Rialto theater was a pioneering choice for Georgia State.  The restoration served as an anchor for the Fairlie-Poplar district and its renovation turned around the historic area.  The Rialto campaign was the first ever for Georgia State, and raised $14M.  

Previous Rialto Pioneer Award winners have been Joanne McGhee, founder of Dancers Collective and former adjunct professor of dance at Georgia State University, and a pioneer in her own right as a leader in presenting contemporary dance; Peg and Bill Balzer, downtown residents and noted arts supporters whose name is on the Balzer Theater next door, both alumnae of GSU; Carl and Gretchen Patton, past President of Georgia State University and his wife, who have been tireless supporters of the Rialto and without whom the theater would not be here today; Jo Ann Haden Miller, Director of Cultural and Heritage Tourism, Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau - a phenomenal downtown booster and friend of the arts who has been an unsung heroine of arts and cultural programs throughout her career; and   Last year's recipients were Kathy and Ken Bernhardt, who have given years to the arts here in Atlanta, serving tirelessly on boards and advising arts organizations around town.