Dean Shelton G. Berg, 2017 Champion of the Arts
Four Seasons Hotel, March 26, 2017

Shelton (Shelly) G. Berg is a world renowned classical and jazz pianist, composer, orchestrator and educator. He is Dean of the Phillip and Patricia Frost School of Music at the University of Miami. In addition to his leadership role as Dean, he is also a Professor of Music teaching classical and jazz music.

Shelly was recently named the Artistic Advisor of Miami’s Arsht Center’s Jazz Roots Concert series. He has been involved as a collaborator since the series inception in 2008.

A four-time Grammy nominee, Shelly has orchestrated for, and recorded with bands Chicago and Kiss, as well as Carole King, Richard Max, Joe Cocker, Elliot Smith, Lou Rawls, Steve Miller, Arturo Sandoval, Lorraine Feathers, Patti Austin, Livingston Taylor and Ken Peplowski. Shelly has arranged and co-produced with Gloria Estefan and contributed arrangements and performed with Renee Fleming. He has also composed, performed and orchestrated for film and television.

As a pianist Shelly has appeared in concert with the Romanian National Orchestra, Pacific Symphony, the Royal Philharmonic, Bournemouth Symphony, the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Houston Symphony and other orchestras around the world.

Citizens Interested in Arts, Inc. is proud to honor Dean Shelton G. Berg as its 2017 Champion of the Arts.


Producing Artistic Director at GableStage

Adler previously directed at many South Florida Theatres including: Coconut Grove Playhouse, New Theatre, Area Stage, Hollywood Boulevard Theatre, Players Theatre, Ruth Foreman Theatre, Florida Shakespeare Theatre, City Theatre, Hollywood Playhouse and Shores Performing Arts. Active in South Florida’s film and theatre community for many years, he has directed hundreds of television commercials and industrial films – winning many awards, including the coveted Clio. Other directorial credits include several independent feature films, a video version of the Broadway hit comedy Doubles and a cable TV series. Since he became Producing Artistic Director, GableStage has been the recipient of 59 Carbonell Awards and 197 Carbonell Nominations. He has been nominated 24 times (17 at GableStage) and 10 times won the Carbonell Award for Best Director and twice for Best Director of a Musical. He was awarded the prestigious George Abbott Award for “significant contributions to the artistic life and cultural development of greater Miami, Fort Lauderdale and the Palm Beaches”.


Dennis Edwards and Mark Steinberg have been actively involved in Miami arts, health and political communities for over 29 years, and are full-time volunteers, operating their own charitable foundation, and participating in numerous community organizations. Their current focus is on creating opportunities for young artists, and providing a pathway to success in life through the study of the arts. Dennis currently serves on the Boards of the New World School of the Arts Foundation, which he chaired for four years, and the Thomas Armour Youth Ballet, where he is Vice-President. Mark is currently on the Board of the Florida Cultural Action Alliance, where he is a past-President, is on the Executive Committee of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s Miami Recognition Dinner, and is a member of the GLBT Fund Committee of the Miami Foundation.



Susan Gottlieb is the first female, as well as the longest serving, Mayor of the City of Aventura. She serves on the Host Committee for Art Basel, worked to reinvigorate the Jackie Gleason Theater while she was a Miami Beach Commissioner, and has been instrumental in the creation and supervision
of the Aventura Arts and Cultural Center.



The Werners are honored as the people who we believe best represents the CIA philosophy of supporting, preserving and furthering the arts in South Florida.


Author, Inspirational Speaker and
Voice for Peace
Presented by her father
Dominic Puopolo, Sr.

Sonia Tita Puopolo (Tita) received her Bachelor of Science in Communication Studies and Masters in Political Communications from Emerson College in Boston, and her second Masters in Government from Harvard University where she wrote her thesis entitled The Internet and U.S. Senatorial Campaigns 2000: An Analysis of Hillary Rodham Clinton´s Website. Tita has been a spokesperson and leader in promoting global understanding, tolerance and peace through communication throughout her college life. Since 9/11, when she lost her mother Sonia Mercedes Morales Puopolo on American Airlines Flight 11, Tita has worked with various organizations in attempting to stress understanding through communication. She has delivered speeches at forums throughout North America, Europe, the Middle East at the Jeddah Economic Forum, and at Aramco. As Tita continues her mother´s powerful legacy of philanthropy in the arts, so too is she is an advocate of love, faith, hope and perseverance, the messages conveyed in her book Sonia´s Ring: 11 Ways to Heal Your Heart.

Miami’s Impresaria
Presented by Charlie Cinnamon

Acknowledging her more than 40 years as South Florida’s peerless presenter of classical music and dance, Judy Drucker, internationally famed impresaria and friend to scores of the world’s most honored musical artists is currently busy re-launching her long-time Concert Association of Florida, which will be presenting a mix of four classical and dance events to be held at both the Fillmore Miami Beach and the New World Center. Drucker is universally regarded as among the nation’s most driving forces in capturing the world’s greatest symphony orchestras, opera singers and dance companies for presentation to both Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. Along the way of the more than 40 years since she began a series at Miami Beach’s Temple Beth Sholom, Drucker created long-time friendships with such classical icons as Artur Rubenstein, Itzhak Perlman, Isaac Stern, Pavarotti, Beverly Sills, Joan Sutherand, Renee Fleming, Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Pinchas Zukerman.

Community Arts Activist
Presented by Michael Aller

An “almost native” Floridian, Rhoda migrated to South Florida as a young girl and has been a most valuable asset to our community for more than a half century. She was a pioneer for the Miami City Ballet and has traveled to Israel and New York on their behalf. She spent 25 years in helping to create and promote the Arsht Center, has served as chairman for the Florida Arts Council, lobbied for the New World School of the Arts and helped organize the Rising Stars Program. She is known as the godmother who gave birth to some wonderful organizations.

Public Relations Guru
Presented by Cultural Ambassador
Richard Jay Alexander

A man not new to awards and adulation for his 40-plus years as Miami’s de facto Cultural Ambassador, Charlie Cinnamon was, fittingly, the very first recipient of the Champion of the Arts “Champ” Award. Cinnamon is an established fixture in the Miami scene and is responsible for some of the city’s finest and longest-running cultural events. Without him, there would be no Coconut Grove Arts Festival. He elevated The Miami Beach Festival of the Arts to national status. And he virtually saved local theater. The list of accomplishments is never ending, and he has touched virtually every cultural and artistic event and organization in Miami. As New Times says, “Through it all, he’s remained as spicy sweet as his name would suggest.”
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