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National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts Selects Bennett Awards

The National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts (NHFA) commissioned a new custom award design from Bennett Awards for some recognition awards they recently presented. The custom design was used for two different NHFA awards.

The first award was the Raul Julia Award for Excellence. This prestigious recognition award is presented annually to a person or persons who are making a critical difference for Latino artists, and who most advance the mission of NHFA. The second award – the Horizon Award – honors individuals who have not only emerged but continue to make a positive impact in all that they do, both personally and professionally.

Juanes receiving the Raul Julia Award

Juanes receiving the Raul Julia Award

The 2014 recipient of the Raul Julia Award was Latin Rock superstar and dedicated philanthropist Juanes. Juanes is a two-time Grammy and 19-tim Latin Grammy winner, and was hailed as “One of the 100 Most Influential People in the World” by TIME. The Columbian superstar is recognized as one of the Spanish-speaking world's leading social media voices with an online following of over 17 million fans.  Juanes' dedication as a global activist also extends far beyond his passionate lyrics and is seen in his wide ranging charitable work, both as a co-founder of the "Paz sin Fronteras" (Peace Without Borders) organization, and his extensive advocacy through his own Mi Sangre Foundation -which promotes youth empowerment and positive social change, using music and art as the tools for creating visible, lasting social transformation.

Previous recipients of the Raul Julia award include: Rita Moreno, Demian Bichir, U.S. Rep. Xavier Becerra; journalist/talk show host, Cristina Saralegui; Film Director Robert Rodriguez; Creator/Producer Roberto Orci; Film Director Patricia Riggen; Film Director Gregory Nava; ABC News Anchor Elizabeth Vargas; and TV Executive Producer/actress Sandra Bullock.

This 2014 recipient of the first Horizon Award recipient was actress Emily Rios, who currently stars in the FX Network series The Bridge.  Rios made her acting debut as the lead in the critically acclaimed film Quinceanera, which went on to win the Audience Award and Grand Jury Prize at the 2006 Sundance Film.  She is perhaps best known for her portrayal of 'Andrea Cantillo,' love interest to Aaron Paul's 'Jesse' in AMC's award-winning hit series Breaking Bad.

The second 2014 Horizon Award recipient was actor Jesse Garcia, who currently stars in the popular series From Dusk Till Dawn on Robert Rodriguez's El Rey Network.  Garcia is also widely recognized for his performance in Quinceanera.  He was most recently seen in Joss Whedon's The Avengers and has appeared in such projects as Bajo La Misma Luna and A Beautiful Life, among others, and will next appear in Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day opposite Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner.

The awards were presented to their deserving recipients at NHFA's 18th Annual Noche de Gala. The event was held October 1, 2014 at the Mayflower Renaissance Hotel in Washington DC. The special evening was hosted by NHFA founders Jimmy Smits, Esai Morales, Sonia Braga, Merel Julia and Felix Sanchez, and featured a performance by Best New Artist Latin Grammy Winner Gaby Moreno.

 For these prestigious awards, Bennett Awards created a custom version of their “Benny” recognition award. The award’s main sculpture featured a figure holding a globe. The figure was mounted on a custom medallion featuring embossed engraving of the organization and award name, and a laurel around the feet of the figure. The sculptures were cast in pewter and plated in gold. The sculptures were then mounted on round bases with engraved plates signifying the organization, award name, and recipient name.

NHFA was founded in 1997 by actors Jimmy Smits, Sonia Braga, Esai Morales, Merel Julia and Washington, D.C. lawyer Felix Sanchez.  The foundation's mission is to promote Latinos both in front of and behind the camera.  The Foundation has concentrated on increasing access for Hispanic artists and professionals while fostering the emergence of new Hispanic talent.  NHFA scholarships have contributed to graduating students at eight leading universities who are pursuing careers in the entertainment and telecommunications industries. More information on NHFA can be found at: www.hispanicarts.org.