Three Atlanta arts leaders took home Georgia Arts & Entertainment Legacy (GAELA) awards on Oct. 1. Vince Anthony, director and founder of the Center for Puppetry Arts, Kenny Leon, artistic director and co-founder of True Colors Theatre Company, and Ruth Mitchell, founder of Ruth Miller Dance Theatre, were honored for making significant contributions to Georgia’s cultural heritage.

Anthony founded the Center for Puppetry Arts in 1978. Today, it is the largest organization dedicated to the art form in the country and is world-renowned for its original productions, educational outreach and well-trained artists. Recently, it became the permanent home of the Jim Henson Muppet Collection.

Leon began his artistic journey as an actor at the Academy Theatre, was artistic director of the Alliance Theatre Company for an unprecedented 11 years, and founded True Colors Theatre Company in 2002. He has directed three Broadway productions (A Raisin in the Sun, Gem of the Ocean, Radio Golf ), which together have garnered two Tony Awards and nine Tony Award nominations. He currently is helming the Broadway revival of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner , opening in fall 2008.

Mitchell was born in Atlanta, but followed her star to New York, where she performed in Broadway shows, and Paris, where she danced with Ruth Page’s Les Ballets Americains. After returning to Atlanta, her work with the fledgling Ruth Mitchell Dance Theater caught the eye of George Balanchine, and she was invited to attend his By Invitation Only workshops for teachers at the New York City Ballet. In 2000, she sold the school and dance theater. Today, she teaches ballet at the Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education, the Atlanta Dance Theatre and the British Academy of Performing Arts.

For more information on the GAELA Awards, visit .