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Koi Fine Asian Cuisine & Lounge has been named the recipient of the 2013 Arts & Business Committee Leadership Award. The award is given annually to an Evanston business that has been exceptionally supportive of the arts in Evanston, either financially or through in-kind services. The award will be presented at the Mayor’s State of the City luncheon on March 7 at the Hilton Orrington, 1710 Orrington Ave.

Combining creativity and good marketing, Koi recently instituted its “Table 23” program, in which people who are seated at or who have reserved that table will have 20 percent of their entire check donated to a community organization designated that month. Arts-related recipients of that program have included the Evanston Art Center, Literature for All of Us and Shorefront Legacy Center.

“We are so pleased to acknowledge Koi’s ongoing commitment to supporting Evanston’s arts groups,” said Penny Rotheiser, co-chair of the Arts & Business Committee. “We are particularly excited that we had a number of very strong candidates for the award, signifying our local businesses’ increasing awareness and interest in supporting the groups. It’s wonderful to see the growing interrelationship between the arts and business communities.”

In the past year, Koi has donated food, time and financial support to numerous arts organizations, including Light Opera Works, the Music Institute of Chicago and the Fountain Square Arts Festival. 

“This community is unparalleled to any place I have ever been,” said Sandy Chen, owner of Koi.  “As proud Evanstonians, we would first like to thank the community for your continued support. We also must give credit to the non-profit organizations that work tirelessly every day to keep the arts alive and relevant. Lastly, thank you to all of the nominees and businesses that continuously pay it forward.  With our collection of hearts, we can make the difference.”

In keeping with the tradition of having a local artist create the award, this year’s award will be designed by Alfonso “Piloto” Nieves Ruiz, an award-winning Mexican-born sculptor and art teacher known to spotlight social issues through his mixed-media pieces. His work has been widely exhibited in metropolitan Chicago and was one of the most successful shows at the National Museum of Mexican Art.