The Wally Russell Fund has announced its recipient for the 2007 Newcomer Award, Patrick Dierson, principal of the Dierson Design Group of New York City.

Dierson grew up the nephew of two Broadway actors, who strongly influenced his view of the elements of a successful production. He always had a backstage view of what it took to produce a successful theatre show. Originally from Long Island, NY, he has built an impressive career designing the lighting and projections for large concerts, television, and corporate events. He spent two years studying Performance Theatre in community college before jumping into the industry with an automated lighting equipment company. He quickly moved on to a successful console programming career and is now a full-time designer.

Dierson's expertise has been called upon for numerous high-level productions, including the promotional world tour of Latin pop sensation Shakira; the Wynn Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas; the MTV Video Music Awards; various appearances for artists on VH1; and numerous special events for the NFL, NBA, and NHL sporting organizations. His work is nothing short of presidential as well, as Dierson worked with President George W. Bush on his 2001 Presidential Gala in Washington, DC, and has since handled many other events for the Commander-in-Chief, working closely with the White House Communications Agency. He earned an Emmy® Award nomination for his work on the post-September 11 musical telethon, America: A Tribute to Heroes.

Recently, Dierson joined the Artfag, LLC design firm as an associate designer and creative director. He is also partner in Idyll Hands Imagery Inc., a company specializing in video content creation for the live entertainment industry, and a product specialist for Control Freak Systems Inc., specializing in software control integration between professional video and lighting control equipment.

Dierson's base of operations is now in New York City, and he is currently handling the production design of multi-Platinum R&B artist R Kelly's Double Up concert tour.

“I obviously never knew Wally Russell, but am certainly knowledgeable and appreciative of the many people and products that he influenced and that influence my work today. I am flattered that the board of directors of this industry-supporting organization would single me out for this recognition,” comments Dierson.

Other Dierson productions include Live Earth, NFL Kickoff, America's 400th Anniversary, Disney's High School Musical: The Concert Tour, World Cup Cricket Opening Ceremonies, and VH1's Hip Hop Honors.

In an unprecedented gesture, Dierson offered to return the $2,500 award to the Wally Fund so that it could continue to support new talent through its ongoing support of the Los Angeles Opera and the Canadian Opera Company Wally Russell Lighting Intern Programs.

“The board is frankly speechless at this act of generosity,” says Tom Folsom, president of the Wally Russell Fund.

A reception will be held at LDI to celebrate both Dierson as the 2007 Newcomer and to honor Fred Foster, the 2007 Lifetime Achievement winner.

Previous Newcomer winners are Robert Bell (1994) and Charles Kirby (2006).

Since 1992, the Wally Russell Fund has sponsored lighting interns at the Los Angeles Opera and the Canadian Opera Company on an annual basis, and also awards the Wally Russell Lifetime Achievement Award and the annual Wally Newcomer Award in honor and memory of Wally Russell, an industry pioneer and mentor to many in the entertainment industry. The Wally Russell Fund is a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization.