David Rhodes, president of SVA since 1978, is the 2014 recipient of the Spirit of New York Award, which is given each year to an individual or organization with a demonstrated commitment to fostering creativity and protecting education, making New York City a more dynamic and diverse community.
“From leading and mentoring educators to cultivating cultural events within the community, your work has positively impacted students and New Yorkers for generations to come,” reads the official citation from the Manhattan Democratic Party.
New York State Assembly Member Keith L. Wright presented President Rhodes with the award at a gala event on Monday, July 14, at the historic Apollo Theater in Harlem.
In accepting the award, President Rhodes delivered a brief set of remarks. Quoting Martin Luther King, Jr., he said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. The arc bends only if we bend it, and we bend it by voting. See you at the polls in November.” Assemblyman Wright called it “the best speech of the night.”
The 2013 Spirit of New York Award went to Actors Equity Association. Past Demmy honorees include Tony Bennett, New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and Randi Weingarten, president, American Federation of Teachers.
The Demmy statuette is the work of 3D Design Chair Kevin O’Callaghan, who designed the iconic Golden Popcorn statuette for the MTV Movie Awards.