The 2016 class of Milley Award winners, clockwise from top left: writer Jacque Leslie, furniture designer Arthur “Tripp” Carpenter, singer Maria Muldaur, Two Neat store owner Bob Bijou and Marin Theatre Company Arristic Director Jasson Minadakis.

The Milley Awards, Mill Valley’s annual celebration of its community’s vast amount of creative achievement and distinguished accomplishments in the arts, unveiled its 2016 class of winners this week. As usual, it’s a celebrated group from a wide array of fields, all providing yet another reminder of the vitality of the local arts and entertainment scene.
The Milley’s 22nd annual gala is set for October 23 at 6pm at the Community Center. The following standouts will be honored:

Maria Muldaur – Musical Arts

​An integral force in the Greenwich Village folk music revival of the 1960s alongside the likes of Bob Dylan, Muldaur made her home in Mill Valley soon after. Best known for the hit single “Midnight at the Oasis,” which reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1974, her career includes 40 albums spanning folk, jazz, gospel, Big Band and now primarily blues genres, and six Grammy nominations. The longtime Mill Valley resident continues to tour and collaborate across the U.S.

Jasson Minadakis – Performing and Film Arts

​For the past 10 years, Minadakis has left an indelible artistic imprint on the Marin Theatre Company, driving the organization to new heights as it enters its 50th season. Under the Mill Valley resident’s leadership, MTC has expanded its production of original, cutting-edge American plays, by young and especially African-American playwrights, in part by creating two nationwide playwriting competitions in just his second year there. MTC and Mill Valley are now established in the first ranks of regional American theatre. Minadakis has also dramatically expanded MTC’s education programs, including both performances and classes that serve over 12,000 Marin students annually.

Bob Bijou – Community Contributions

​Take one step into Two Neat and be immersed into the creative spirit, music, geography and state of mind of Mill Valley and Marin County.  Bijou, who lives in Sausalito, is the store’s founder and owner, and for almost 30 years, he’s used this gem of a shop to celebrate artists, musicians and just plain fun. Bijou, who lives in Sausalito, also created and maintains the millvalleymap.com website, and co-founded Watts Up!, Mill Valley’s storefront holiday lighting program.

Jacques Leslie – Literary Arts

​An environmental author, essayist, and former Pulitzer Prize-nominated war correspondent, this Mill Valley resident won the Sigma Delta Chi Distinguished Service Award and an Overseas Press Club citation for his coverage of the Vietnam War, during which he became the first American journalist to enter and return from Vietcong territory in South Vietnam. Leslie has also won national awards for his work in newspapers, magazines, and books, and his tome, “Deep Water: The Epic Struggle Over Dams, Displaced People, and the Environment,” won the J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award for its “beautiful, elegant prose.”

Arthur “Tripp” Carpenter – Visual Arts and Design

​A third-generation designer and maker of fine, collectible wood furniture, vessels and ornamental objects from his studio in Bolinas, this Mill Valley resident made and donated the Mill Valley City Hall entryway bench, and built the new reference desk and book drop for the town’s library. published “Education of a Woodsmith,” the autobiography and creative handbook of his father, renowned wood craftsman Art Espenet Carpenter.
The Milley Creative Achievement Awards Selection Committee changes annually. This year the judges were painter Leslie Allen, painter; former Mill Valley Mayor Andy Berman; “Legendary Locals of Mill Valley” author Joyce Kleiner; Murphy Productions partner Daniel Patrick; and Tom Sawyer, nightclub booker and former owner, Cobb’s Comedy Club.

The latest batch of Milley Award winner brings the total honorees over 22 years to 140 individuals and organizations. Past winners have included such diverse and distinguished arts contributors as Eve Pell, Michael Painter, Craig Frazier, Betty Goerke, Jim Lange, Jane Hirshfield, Bill Champlin, Dan Hicks, Lucy Mercer, Suki Hill, Kathleen Quinlan, Rob Nilsson, Cyra McFadden, Bob Weir, Pirkle Jones, George Duke, Barry Spitz, John Goddard, Lee Sankowich, David Harris, Gretchen Mentzer, Mimi Farina, Martin Cruz Smith and Rita Abrams. Organizations and businesses have been honored as well, including the Mill Valley Chamber Music Society, the Mountain Play Association, the Outdoor Art Club, O’Hanlon Center for the Arts and the Depot Bookstore & Café.

The Milley Award is a bronze statuette created by John Libberton of Sausalito. The annual gala event is produced by a volunteer board of directors, under the auspices of the Mill Valley Art Commission. Tickets for the 2016 Milley Awards include a reception, dinner, and the awards program. They will go on sale in early September. MORE INFO.

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