On October 6, 2009 H.T. Chen was honored to accept the Mayor’s Award for Arts and Culture at a ceremony that was entertaining and delightful. Mayor Michael Bloomberg hosted the celebration and performed with the master of ceremonies, John Stamos. The program included Dance Theatre of Harlem, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Sean Grissom, the Big Apple Circus, Avery Brooks, and students from the Frank Sinatra High School for the Arts.These awards were created in 1974 by the Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission to honor individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the cultural life of New York City. Mr. Chen is so very honored to be added to the prestigious roster of recipients.
As a single artist, H.T. Chen has had a tremendous impact on the New York Chinese community for over 30 years, as well as on the local Dance Community. He has been generous to many other artists by creating opportunities for emerging choreographers through the newsteps and Ear to the Ground series. Equally important to creating new dance works, Mr. Chen has spent his lifetime providing opportunities for community children so that they too can flourish in the arts. Chen Dance Center, in the heart of Chinatown, offers arts training to hundreds of community youth, with free outreach workshops for those who cannot afford lessons.
While Mr. Chen has been a longtime advocate for the arts, he has also been a longtime advocate for the Chinese community. His organization has worked with at-risk youth, street vendors, local businesses, the NYC Police Dept, NYC Fire Dept, HIV-AIDS awareness and Voter Registration organizations. Most recently, CDC led a community greening project that resulted in two dozen trees, flowering bushes and wild flowers along Mulberry and Bayard Streets which attract tourists and local residents to the arts center.
Also this month, a new dish arrives in town – Chen Dance Crispy Combo at the Pho Viet Huong restaurant at 73 Mulberry St; a big platter of crispy noodles topped with a delicious assortment of vegetables, meat and seafood. To be honored by a ZAGAT rated restaurant in the neighborhood with a dish titled in its name further establishes CDC as a valued contributor to the vibrant culture and community that is Chinatown.