Legendary Emmy-winning actor Ed Asner will receive a special honor spotlighting his tireless efforts to create the new Ed Asner Family Center founded by his son Matt and daughter in law Navah Paskowitz-Asner. A longtime advocate for the developmentally disabled and those on the autistic spectrum, Asner personally understands the challenges that Special Needs families face, and the healing power of a creative, loving environment.
Said Asner: “This is a dream of mine - to establish an oasis of creativity in every special needs community. A place where our most beautiful dreamers of all can have their opportunity to thrive and in doing so learn valuable lessons about themselves and the world and in the same building give families an opportunity to be healthy. This center of enrichment is where we can develop a most important part of our being, character.”
Also receiving an honor is Elaine Frontain Bryant, Executive Vice President and Head of Programming at A&E Network. She is a champion of an inclusive Hollywood. Her work on Born This Way and other A&E series that feature differently abled individuals deserves to be recognized.
Frontain Bryant is responsible for overseeing the development, creation and execution of all programming for the network, integrating new programming with digital initiatives and developing ways to expand the brand across multiple platforms. Under Frontain Bryant, the A&E programming team garnered Emmy Awards® for Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath and Born This Way. She developed additional programs including Live PD, The Menendez Murders: Erik Tells All, The Murder of Laci Peterson, the Emmy-nominated L.A. Burning: The Riots 25 Years Later and The Lowe Files, among many others. She led the relaunch of the Emmy Award winning Intervention and the Emmy Award nominated Cold Case Files. Frontain Bryant was previously Senior Vice President of Programming and Development at HISTORY. Prior to joining HISTORY, Frontain Bryant served as Senior Vice President of Non-Fiction & Alternative Programming for A&E Network, responsible for such hits as Wahlburgers, Duck Dynasty and Storage Wars.
World-renowned celebrity chef Art Smith, best known as Oprah’s chef for over 20 years and now his restaurants including Artbird, Homecomin’ and Southern Art will accept an award for his charitable contributions and commitment to children. He is the founder of Common Thread, a non-profit organization teaching low-income families to cook wholesome and affordable meals for over 12 years. It has morphed his free healthy cooking program that has reached over 125,000 children. In addition, Smith and his talented team will be showcasing their signature recipes as the chef of A Night of Dreams Gala preparing the menu and delicacies for the evening.
Smith loves the idea of bringing people together through food. It’s partly what made him the success he is today. He is the executive chef and co-owner of Table fifty-two, Art and Soul, Southern Art and Bourbon Bar, and LYFE Kitchen restaurants. Smith has received the culinary profession’s highest awards and has cooked for some of the world’s most famous celebrities. In 1997, Smith became the personal day-to-day chef to Oprah Winfrey, a position that lasted ten years. Smith has made several television appearances including ABC’s Lady Gaga Thanksgiving Special, Top Chef , Top Chef Masters, Iron Chef America, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Nightline, Extra, Entertainment Tonight, The Dr. Oz Show and the Oprah Winfrey Show, among many others. Smith is the author of three award-winning cookbooks: Back to the Table; Kitchen Life; Real Food for Real Families; and Back to the Family and the recipient of numerous awards and honors.