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The WIN Awards 14

Humanitarian Honoree: Maria Arena Bell
Co-Hosts: Melissa Peterman & Bruce Vilanch
Presenters: Beverly Johnson, Lisa Kudrow, Nadine Velasquez, Ace Young
Performer / Presenter: Diana DeGarmo

Maria BellMaria Arena Bell: Humanitarian Honoree

Humanitarian Honoree: Maria Arena Bell makes the world a more vibrant place to live. An avid art collector, a tireless philanthropist, an Emmy winning Head writer and recent executive producer of The Young & The Restless, Maria is one of the most influential art supporters in Los Angeles.

Ms. Bell is the founder of Vitameatavegamin Productions, a multi-media production company based in Los Angeles.

Ms. Bell was recently nominated by Mayor Antonio Villaragosa to the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Commission where she will be a Commissioner.

According to WIN Founder, Phyllis Stuart “For countless future generations, Maria Bell will inspire others to follow her lead to support and value artists. An outstanding artist herself, Ms. Bell is also an extraordinarily supportive friend to other artists. Through her work at MoCA and P.S. Arts, Maria has indelibly and positively impacted the cultural fabric of Los Angeles”.

Ms. Bell’s passion for the arts was ignited as a student in a Southern California public high school, back when the arts were a part of every student’s curriculum.  She was inspired to major in Art History and Fiction Writing at Northwestern University and since then as a television writer and activist for the arts Maria has dedicated herself to arts advocacy and to advancing the arts in America. 

Maria channels her relentless creative magic serving on numerous nonprofit boards in the arts, including: P.S. Arts where she serves as president and is integral in their goal to provide arts to 11,000 low-income, Los Angeles public school children, Americans For The Arts, for whom she chairs The National Arts Awards and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, (MOCA) for whom she has co-chaired the Board of trustees for the last three years and through chairing the last four MOCA Galas has raised more than eleven million dollars to support MOCA and its programs. She also sits on the boards of Center Dance Arts, Dicapo Opera Theater and the American Friends of The Musee Des Arts Decoratifs Paris. She is also a committed and active board member of The Melanoma Research Alliance and Marlborough School. 

In addition to her television work, Maria has been an essayist for “T” the Style section magazine of The New York Times, “C” Magazine, Aspen Magazine, Aspen Peak magazine and Women’s Wear Daily. 

Maria is a mother of two children and resides in Los Angeles with her husband Bill Bell, Jr.

Co-Host: Bruce VilanchBruce Vilanch is an actor (occasionally an actress), writer (occasionally a re-writer), comedian (occasionally for money, often for causes) and sex surrogate (seasonal).

He co-authored the last twenty-three Academy Award spectacles, winning two writing Emmys in the process (almost as good a nominee/win ratio as Meryl Streep’s).

He has also been nominated for seven other Emmys -- one of them was for his participation on the celebrity panel of Hollywood Squares, where he resided for six years just to the left of Whoopi on your screen.

For two years, Bruce starred on Broadway and the road as Edna Turblad, Baltimore’s most glamorous plus-sized tootsie, in the musical Hairspray.

His one-man show, Almost Famous– he had that title first, dammit – was a big hit a few years before that.

Bruce is so well-known as a provider of comic material for other performers that during his Miramax years, Harvey Weinstein made a documentary entitled Get Bruce which features comic deconstructions by his frequent collaborators: Bette Midler, Billy Crystal, Robin Williams, Whoopi Goldberg, Michael Douglas (soon to be seen as Liberace!), Nathan Lane, Paul Reiser, Lily Tomlin and Shirley MacLaine.

Follow Bruce on Twitter @TheBruceVilanch.

Co-Host: Melissa Peterman is originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she was in the original cast for over 600 performances of Tony and Tina’s Wedding and a regular on the comedy and improv scenes.

Melissa PetermanShe is best known for her starring role of “Barbra Jean” on the hit series, Reba.

She is the host of CMT’s No. 1-rated series, The Singing Bee, the fourth season of which premiered on April 20.

She stars in ABC Family’s sitcom Baby Daddy, which premiered on June 20. In 2011, Melissa starred in and produced the sitcom Working Class for CMT with Ed Asner, which debuted as CMT’s highest rated, most watched premiere in the channel’s history.

Her first televised comedy special, Melissa Peterman: Am I the Only One?, appeared on CMT.

She just wrapped the independent film 40 Is The New Dead and Columbia Pictures' Here Comes the Boom, starring Kevin James and Salma Hayek.

She has appeared in many television shows, including Surviving Suburbia, Rita Rocks, Just Shoot Me, Cedric, and Living with Abandon. Melissa has done voiceovers for The Pitts and American Dad.

She starred in the independent comedy feature, Dirty Politics, and also stars in Dusty Peacock, the online series created for, Sony Pictures Entertainment’s online video network.

Melissa is currently working on her first comedy album for Big Machine Records. This past year, she toured with Reba McEntire, George Strait, and Lee Ann Womack. Melissa made her film debut as“ Hooker No. 2” in the Coen Brothers Oscar-winning film, Fargo.

She is committed to many charities, including Muhammad Ali’s Celebrity Fight Night, Habitat for Humanity, The Red Cross, and the non-profit Buzzworks Theatre Company.

You can follow Melissa on Twitter @followtheblonde.

Beverly Johnson, Presenter
Beverly Johnson
Lisa Kudrow, Presenter
Lisa Kudrow
Nadine Velasquez, Presenter
Nadine Velasquez
Ace Young, Presenter
Ace Young

Diana DeGarnoPerformer / Presenter: Diana DeGarmo, Broadway veteran in both Hairspray and the Revival of HAIR, just became engaged on the Season 11 Finale of American Idol to fellow Idol-alum Ace Young.

Just releasing her new Country EP "Live to Love" with Jimmy Buffett's Mailboat Records, Diana is excited to be a part of this wonderful foundation.

You may recognize her as her NEW hit character, Angelina on the number 1 Daytime TV show, "The Young & The Restless," one of the youngest runner-ups in American Idol history, or keeping the peace with Dee Snider, Bobby Brown, & Carnie Wilson on, "Gone Country."

Follow her on Twitter @DianaDeGarmo & fb.

harp & flute Performers: Andrea Puente is a native of Mexico City, Andrea Puente graduated from the National Conservatory of Music in 1983. During the next two years she did graduate work at the Victoria Conservatory of Music and at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada, with Taka Kling. In 1987 the Polish Government awarded her a Post-graduate Fellowship at the Chopin Academy, where she completed her studies under the direction of Ursula Mazurek. In 1990 she won the position of Principal Harp of the Jalisco Philharmonic, in Mexico. In 1992 she won a scholarship for the Nicanor Zabaleta World Masterclass in Spain. A year later she won the post of Principal Harp in the Orquesta Ciudad de Malaga, Spain, where she performed frequently as soloist in concerts with the Jupiter Quartet throughout the Iberian Peninsula. In 1994 she joined the faculty of the National Conservatory of Mexico and became the harpist of the Carlos Chavez Symphony Orchestra in Mexico City. In 1998 she was Visiting Professor of Harp at the Victoria Conservatory of Music in British Columbia, where she also gave a series of concerts.

The life of flutist Salpy Kerkonian is filled with: Vibrant Music, Vibrant Travels And Vibrant Musical Collaborations

The journey began at age 7 when Salpy discovered the flute at her elementary school in Los Angeles, California. From the first moment, Salpy knew that music would be her life and passion. That passion led her to win First Place in 14 Solo Competeitions; two International Chamber Music Competitions, the Coleman and Carmel; as well as a full scholarship to the USC School of Music where Miss Kerkonian received her Bachelor's and Masters Degrees, with Honors. As symphonic flutist,  Salpy has served as Principal Flute of the Santa Cecilia Orchestra, American Youth Symphony, YMF Debut Orchestra, and Asst. Principal of the Glendale Symphony. In that capacity, Salpy had the honor of performing three times with Luciano Pavarotti and The Three Tenors, Andrea Bocelli, and twice in duo with Diva coloratura Sumi Jo. Currently, Miss Kerkonian spends much of her year in vibrant travels as solo flutist with International singer Moien: visiting such extraordinary locations as: Kuala Lumpur; Dubai; Dushanbe Tajikistan on the Ancient Silk Road; Paris: London; Germany, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland: and Canada.

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