Community Art Award winners announced at Annual Gala for the Arts

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

As part of its ongoing work to cultivate creativity and inspire our community through the arts, ShoreLake Arts seeks to honor those who embody that mission in their work or personal lives. 

ShoreLake Arts was proud to present three well deserved awards at the Gala for the Arts on Saturday, May 15, 2021. A full listing of all award winners through the years can be found on our website at

The HeART Award

Presented to a member or members of the ShoreLake Arts community whose long-standing and consistent commitment to the organization has advanced our mission in significant ways. The award winner’s lasting impact has been vital to our organization’s ongoing health and longevity. Such individuals are the very heart of ShoreLake Arts.

Don Bell, HeART Award Recipient (right, holding award), and Bob Pfeiffer, Past ShoreLake Arts Board President. Custom Award created by artist Lynn McManus

Presented to Don Bell

This year’s recipient is someone who has worked with ShoreLake Arts for many years; his connection to this organization began over nine years ago, and carries on to this day as he continues to demonstrate his strong sense of community and passion for our mission.

While serving on our Board of Directors, Don Bell always added a quick sense of humor in combination with his deep knowledge of finances helping to make many meetings both productive and enjoyable. After his term ended on our board, Don has continued to help us stay on a strong and consistent financial path in addition to his other contributions to our Arts community.

If you ever want to talk about good music,classic cars, or the intricacies of filing a non-profit 990 tax form (or just the normal kind!) this is the person to call!

The Community pARTner Award

Presented to a public or private entity (nonprofit, business, or government) that has inspired and encouraged arts and culture in the cities of Shoreline and/or Lake Forest Park. With passion, innovation, and commitment to advancing the arts, this organization has made significant contributions to our community promoting and expanding the richness of life possible in a community centered in the arts and culture. This award is intended to honor past achievements and express excitement for future endeavors.

JHP Artistic Director, Eben Pobee and Emmanuel Arhu at the Gala for the Arts

Presented to JHP Legacy

Led by accomplished musicians, performers, and artists, JHP Legacy strives to share their passion for music, dance, and all cultural arts to underserved communities.

Founded in 2013 by Eben Pobee, Akwasi Asare, and Philip Attipoe, JHP is a fully volunteer run organization with a full calendar of events and programs including the Multicultural Heritage Festival which creates a platform where all communities have an opportunity to connect and better understand each other through music and dance.

In this, our inaugural year of the Community pARTner Award, we are honored to present the award to JHP.

The Community Arts Impact Award - presented posthumously to Zhenlun Li

Presented to a person that has made substantial and long-lasting contributions to the arts in Shoreline and/or Lake Forest Park. This award honors an individual who has elevated arts and culture in our community through visionary leadership, creativity, philanthropy, advocacy, and/or volunteerism. Through his or her significant impact on the arts in our community, the award winner has embodied the mission of ShoreLake Arts by cultivating creativity and inspiring our community through the arts.

Teacher Li’s students performed in his honor: Ethan Su, Michael Guo, Lisa Guo, Hongjie Wang, and pianist Ting Ting Chang.

Presented to Zhenlun Li

Our first-ever recipient of the Community Arts Impact Award is awarded posthumously to the distinguished cellist and teacher Zhen Lun Li. Teacher Li embodied the virtues that this Award seeks to honor. He was a celebrated performer and a distinguished teacher, a community leader and a visionary who used his artistic talents to bridge Asian and Western cultures.

He shared these talents with the world, performing as the Principal Cellist for the Beijing Symphony Orchestra in China and teaching at the Tianjin Conservatory of Music in China before coming to the US. His national and international accomplishments are too many to list.

In addition to his own talent with the cello, Teacher Li was an exceptional mentor and teacher. His extraordinary impact on the many music students he taught through the years resonates throughout the world. We have been graced with some of those students here tonight. 

His teaching skills were much acclaimed. Among other things he was a nine-time recipient of the Diploma of Recognition by the Committee of New York’s Carnegie Hall American Protégé International Piano and Strings Competition, where many of his students were also winners.

Esther Wu accepted the award on behalf of her late husband. She’s joined here by ShoreLake Arts President Tracy Thorleifson and Executive Director Lorie Hoffman.
Custom Award created by glass artist Neil Duman

ShoreLake Arts was honored to work with Teacher Li over the years, most recently in 2017, at the East Meets West Concert Weekend that explored the blending of musical traditions of Asian and Western cultures. With other performers, the Zhenlun Cello Orchestra performed to delighted crowds.

We are proud that ShoreLake Arts had the opportunity to work with an artist and arts educator like Teacher Li, and we are honored to present this award to his legacy.

See tomorrow’s Shoreline Area News for more details about the 2021 Gala for the Arts!

ShoreLake Arts is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to cultivate creativity and inspire our community through the arts. Established in 1989.


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