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Sali Lieberman
Sali Lieberman
The Tempest performed in Old Mill Park.
Vera Schultz
Vera Schultz
Political comic Will Durst performing in Comedy at the Plaza
Sali Lieberman

In addition to the Milley Awards bestowed based on the nomination categories, two other awards were added as a way to recognize those who contributed to the arts in Mill Valley in other ways.

In 2000 the Sali Lieberman Award was created by the Milley Awards Board of Directors to honor lifetime achievements of those individuals who embody Sali Lieberman's inspiration, courage and determination and who, like him, have contributed significantly to the cultural life of Mill Valley.

Sali Lieberman worked as a dresser in Zurich's theater and film community, fled the Nazis, came to Hollywood and worked in film production. Moving to Mill Valley with his family, he worked as an upholsterer, became involved in his adopted community and dreamed of resuming the theatrical life.

In 1966, with Mayor Albert White and 35 others who embraced his vision, Sali founded the Mill Valley Center for Performing Arts to present quality offerings in films, concerts, dance, poetry and live theater. He was the major force in MVCPA surviving a disastrous fire, Prop 13, inadequate spaces and ongoing fund-raising to stay alive, He recruited others for the board. When the Buck Trust was established, MVCPA received its first grant of $8,000, enabling the theater to hire Sali as its first managing director in 1980.

Sali died in 1982, and Harry Perlis stepped in as acting director. That year, the board decided to expand its mission from an amateur community playhouse to a regional equity theater company, and in 1984 took the name Marin Theatre Company.

The first Sali Lieberman Award was presented by the Milley Awards Board of Directors to the late Jean Maguire Mitchell in 2000 for her outstanding contributions to the community as a cellist of the Marin Arts Quartet, teacher of many student cellists and one of the founding members and first President of the Marin Symphony.

Vera Schultz

In 2002 the Vera Schultz Award was created to honor achievements of organizations which embody her activism, leadership, courage and vision, and like Vera, have made lasting contributions to the cultural life of our community.

Vera Schultz was the trailblazer for Marin County women in politics and the personification of constructive contributions which women make to society. The first woman elected overwhelmingly to the Mill Valley City Council in 1946, Vera successfully pushed for a city manager-form of government and a parks and recreation department. By clever "ceding" of 17 acres of private dumpsite to the city and our school district, Bay Front Park and the Community Center exist as Vera's legacy to Mill Valley.

In 1952, Vera survived Tammany Hall-like election chicanery to become Marin's first woman supervisor. With her brilliance, charm, innovation and tireless determination, Vera transformed Marin's provincial "courthouse gang" government into one with modern professional public administration practices. She led the way in creating the county administrator and county counsel positions; public works, parks and recreation and purchasing departments; effective planning; and establishing a county personnel commission.

True to her own credo, "Why not the best!" Vera persuaded Frank Lloyd Wright to design Marin's new civic center. She persevered over fierce personal, vindictive and incessant opposition. Almost everything that is superior about Marin County government can be credited to Vera's triumphant will. Marin's Civic Center, an architectural jewel, is her legacy to the world.

Vera died May 3, 1995 at age 92. Her one unachieved goal was to attain age 100. That would have been in 2002, her centennial and that of the Outdoor Art Club (the first recipient of the Vera Schultz Award). Vera served as the club's program chair and incidentally introduced members to the art of Dick and Ann O'Hanlon. Ann O'Hanlon was the first recipient of the (now-named) Milley Award for Creative Achievement.

© 2004-2013 The Mill Valley Arts Commission and The Milley Awards Board of Directors.