Ramya Harishankar named Helena Modjeska Cultural Legacy Artist Awardee 2007 
October 27, 2007 

Founded in 1995, Arts Orange County is designated by the County of Orange and the State of California as the county’s official local arts agency. Arts OC fosters the growth and development of the arts and arts education throughout the region and makes arts accessible to a broad and diverse range of residents and visitors. The best of the county’s creative community are celebrated at the annual banquet which was held on September 26, this year at the Balboa Bay Club, Newport Beach, CA. Lifetime achievement awards were presented to artistic and community visionaries who have made a key difference in the growth and development of the arts in the county. 

Three key figures in the art community were honored with a HELENE MODJESKA CULTURAL LEGACY AWARDS - Ramya Harishankar, classical Indian dancer and artistic director of Arpana Dance Company received the Artist award; Ralph Opacic, founder and president of Orange County High School for the Arts was honored as Artistic Visionary and writer; philanthropist and civic leader, Joan Irvine Smith, was applauded as Community Visionary.

Recently named LOS ANGELES MILESTONE DANCE COMPANY 2007 by the LA County Board of Supervisors, and the Dance Resource Center of LA, Arpana completes 25 years of service to the Southland.  To mark the occasion, the Company presented a retrospective of its work, Classic Arpana 25 - mixed repertory featuring traditional Bharatanatyam as well as new and creative interpretations of the idiom. This sold out performance at the Barclay featured 25 dancers as well as the LA based Japanese American drumming group, Kinnara Taiko. A company of 15 dancers along with 6 members of Kinnara Taiko recently returned from a successful tour of India. 

Harishankar in her 25 year teaching career in Orange County has personally trained over 300 students. Besides her solo performances in 4 continents, she has also toured the US, Europe and India with her Company. She has previously been recognized as Outstanding Artist for 2002 by Arts OC. Arpana Dance Company is regularly featured in festivals throughout S California and is the recipient of several grants from the National  Endowment for the Arts, the California Arts Council, the Fund for Folk Culture, and Alliance for California Traditional Arts. The Company has presented over 15 full length productions. Many of these productions were fund raisers for charities world wide including American Cancer Society, Make–A–Wish Foundation, American Red Cross, Pediatric AIDS Foundation and CHOC and raised over $80,000. As a founding Board member of Ektaa Center (formerly known as Arpana Foundation), Harishankar has been actively involved in bringing the diverse arts and cultures of India to the local community.