About the 2009 Viola Awards

2009 Award Winners

2009 Nominees

2009 Event Photos

Back to Viola Awards Archives

About the 2009 Viola Awards

Flagstaff Cultural Partners (now Flagstaff Arts Council) presented the first annual Viola Awards for Excellence in the Arts to ten recipients at a gala celebration on Thursday, March 5, 2009, at the Radisson Woodlands Hotel in Flagstaff. Ten different awards honored artists, organizations, businesses and individuals who exhibit excellence in their work or provide outstanding support for the arts.

Over 140 nominations were received from the community, recognizing 99 unique artists, organizations, and businesses (see list at bottom). Over 300 people attended the gala, kicking off a new tradition in Flagstaff’s arts community for years to come.

Official 2009 Viola Award Winners

The winners of the 2009 Viola Award Winners are…

Ellen Tibbetts received the Mayor's Lifetime Contribution to the Arts Award

Ellen Tibbetts received the Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts

Don Bendel received the Award for Lifetime Contribution to the Arts

Don Bendel received the Award for Lifetime Contribution to the Arts

Visual Arts Award, Joel Sorren

Visual Arts Award, Joe Sorren

Performing Arts Award, Theatrikos Theatre Company

Performing Arts Award, Theatrikos Theater Company

Music Award, Craig Yarbrough

Music Award, Craig Yarbrough

Literature Award, Mary Sojourner

Literature Award, Mary Sojourner

Business for the Arts Award, The Orpheum Theater

Business for the Arts Award, The Orpheum Theater

Arts Educator Award, Marshall Magnet Elementary School

Arts Educator Award, Marshall Magnet Elementary School

Outstanding Arts Event, First Friday ArtWalk

Outstanding Arts Event Award, First Friday ArtWalk

Student Artist Award, Corrina Wall

Student Artist Award, Corrina Wall

About the Winners

Ellen Tibbetts is an artist with an interest in art, a love of the outdoors and a fascination with the west. This brought her to Northern Arizona University after high school. There she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Ceramics. After graduating she worked as a river guide and later returned to NAU and received a Master of Studio Art degree. She has had numerous solo exhibitions and has been a part of many national and international invitational exhibitions. Best known for her large scale ceramic thrones and whimsical horse and bird figures, she has been inspiring students of art and ceramics since 1993.

Don Bendel has a unique and distinguished lifetime contribution to teaching, creative work and service. Known for his development of the two rare wood-fired Japanese kilns at NAU and the world-famous Bendel Burner, the ceramic artist has contributed much to the artistic community in Northern Arizona.

Joe Sorren is a remarkable, nationally acclaimed artist, whose work continues to be published in respected books and magazines. With solo shows in major cities across the U.S., we clearly have, here in Arizona, an artist that is among the cream of the crop of contemporary painters in the world of art today. He is known well in his hometown of Flagstaff as a musician, too, and for the large mural that adorns Heritage Square in Downtown Flagstaff today.

Theatrikos Theatre Company has held center stage in Northern Arizona performance for the past 36 years. Their work extends beyond the stage as they work with local youth and in the community on important programs that utilize the arts to teach and heal. They are perhaps best known for their six mainstage plays each year that provide thought-provoking, humorous and meaningful stories.

Mary Sojourner is an accomplished author who is a regular contributor to National Public Radio (NPR) and Flagstaff Live. She is the author of several books including Bonelight: Ruin & Grace in the New Southwest, Solace: Rituals of Loss & Desire, and Delicate Stories.

Classical guitarist Craig Yarbrough has been at the forefront of the classical music scene in Flagstaff for the past six years. As the founder and Executive Director of the Grand Canyon Guitar Society, Yarbrough has brought dozens of world-class musicians to perform in Northern Arizona. Yarbrough also teaches guitar and plays for patients at the Flagstaff Medical Center.

Marshall Magnet Elementary School is an arts and science magnet school part of the Flagstaff Unified School District. Marshall is best known for its ambitious Suzuki Violin program that is offered to all of its kindergartern, first and second grade students at no charge. Marshall offers theatre, dance, visual arts and creative writing programs, working to integrate the arts into all aspects of its curriculum.

Corrina Wall – in the words of her teacher and nominator, Gina Darlington: “In these past three years I have seen her grow into a responsible, creative, and dedicated dancer and teacher. She graduated from CCC with her Associates Dance Degree in 2008 and is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s degree from NAU. She is a leader at CCC as she continues dance training there and is a voice for the arts to the new generation in Flagstaff.”

The Orpheum Presents (TOP Productions) is a presenting company that has hosted some of the finest musical and performing artists in the world at the Orpheum Theater and Pine Mountain Amphitheatre in Flagstaff, Arizona. The company also hosts community events and celebrations, fund raisers for local non-profits and private parties.

The First Friday ArtWalk was founded over ten years ago by the Artists Gallery in Downtown Flagstaff. Over the years it has grown into a monthly event of epic proportions that brings together the Flagstaff community, welcomes visitors and strengthens local business, all through the allure of the arts. Dozens of galleries and downtown businesses, along with hundreds of artists, participate in the event each month.

Official 2009 Viola Award Nominees

VISUAL ARTS
Eleanor Aldrich
Robin Cadigan
Nancy DeBlois
Mike Frick
Emma Gardner
Tracy Glau
Judi Hartman
Keith Huling
Crooked Arrow Jackson
Fran Joseph
Shane Knight
Steve Lawton
Debbie Leavitt
Chandra Robinson
Audria Smith
Joe Sorren
Ellen Tibbetts
Kate Watters

PERFORMING ARTS
Ballet Folklorico de Colores
Craig Bowie
Canyon Movement Company
Human Nature Dance Theatre
Kuma Tunyale
Jayne Lee
NAU Theatre
Theatrikos Theatre Company

MUSIC
Jim DeBlois
The Foot Solejahs
Flagstaff Light Opera Company
Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra
Grand Canyon Guitar Society
Master Chorale of Flagstaff
Dave McGraw
Nolan McKelvey
Tony Norris
Chris Scully
Thomas Sheeley
Telescope Band
Whiskey Rodeo
Craig Yarbrough

LITERATURE
Ann Cummins
James Jay
Northern Arizona Book Festival
Mary Sojourner
Ann Walka

ARTS EDUCATOR
Priscilla Aydelot
Don Bendel
Craig Bowie
Dee Brewer
Nancy Carroll
Chase Coleman
Joe Cornett, Sr.
Kathy Greenwald
Jeneece Henes
Ellen Hobson
Gretchen Lopez
Marshall Magnet Elementary School
NAU Community Music & Dance Academy
Lea J. Parker
Chandra Robinson
Thomas Sheeley
Pamela Stephens
Eileen Westphall
Baje Whitethorne
Craig Yarbrough

OUTSTANDING ARTS EVENT
Arizona Highland Celtic Festival – N. AZ Celtic Heritage Society
Celebraciones de la Gente – Mus. of N. Arizona
Classical Guitar Concert Series – Grand Canyon Guitar Society
First Friday ArtWalk – various businesses
Flagstaff Open Studios – Artists Coalition of Flagstaff
Hopi Festival of Arts & Culture – Mus. of N. Arizona
Recycled Art Exhibition – Artists Coalition of Flagstaff

BUSINESS FOR THE ARTS
Aspey, Watkins & Diesel
Brandy’s Restaurant
Divinity Tattoo North
Eagle 103.7 FM
Earth-n-Ware Ceramics
Flagstaff Live
Greenhouse Productions
La Bellavia
The Orpheum Presents
Tony Freeman of Nature Exposed Photography

STUDENT ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Alma Angelina Aispuro
Addison Bliss
Thomas Byers
James Coquia
Maximilano Mansfield
Tana Mendenhall
Miguel Monroy
Corrine Wall

LIFETIME CONTRIBUTION TO THE ARTS
George Averbeck
Don Bendel
Jake Brookins
Joe Cornett, Sr.
Mike Frankel
Fran Joseph
Joanne Kealiinohomoku
KNAU
Kay Poen

2009 Viola Event Photos