CIF Participants Earn Arts of Life Awards

January 22, 2015

On Saturday, January 17, The Arts of Life hosted its annual North Shore Awards Show, featuring six members of the Center for Independent Futures community. Each received recognition for their contributions...and these were no ordinary awards. From the "6th Man" to the "Cultural Curiosity," the awards captured the gifts that the artists bring to The Arts of Life and CIF communities.

The Out of the Box Award went to CIF participant Quinn Zenner for his creative and thoughtful approach to art and life. Quinn's creativity is evident in the way he plans for his goals with his CIF life skills tutors. CIF participant Elise Hylton earned the Cultural Curiosity Award, a perfect tribute to her thoughtful questions and open mind. "She wants to know why each person is who they are or how they do what they do," The Arts of Life observed. Elise makes all of us at CIF think about the deeper questions, too.

Ted Gram-Boarini
, a CIF participant, painter, and member of Arts of Life band Van Go Go, received the Ambassador Award for his natural networking ability and outgoing personality. "Ted has many connections in a variety of worlds – art, music, disability, his hometown of Evanston, just to name a few," the award said. CIF is grateful that Ted brings those connections to strengthen our community as well. The Arts of Life gave another fitting award to CIF participant Phil Gazzolo, who earned the Gentleman Award. "His willingness to listen to others, consider every suggestion and try anything once has endeared him to us," the award writers shared. 

CIF community member Brian earned the Good Neighbor Award for his friendliness and dedication to relationships. David, another member of the CIF community, received the 6th Man Award for his many talents and his willingness to share them.

CIF congratulates all of the artists for their well-deserved awards! We are grateful to these CIF participants for sharing their gifts with both communities and to The Arts of Life for hosting an amazing evening to honor everyone at the North Shore Studio. The Arts of Life is a community of artists with and without disabilities who form an artistic culture to use the gifts and strengths of each member. To learn more, visit their website at

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