2017 Viola Award Nominees

The Flagstaff Arts Council is pleased to announce the nominees and Legacy Award winners for the 9th Annual Viola Awards. Forty-four nominees in eight categories will be honored at the Gala event, along with two recipients of the Viola Legacy Award, on Saturday, March 4, 2017, at High Country Conference Center in Flagstaff. The Viola Awards celebrate excellence in the arts and sciences in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Nominations are also now open for the 2018 Viola Awards: make a nomination now.

The Viola Legacy Award goes to individuals for Lifetime Contribution to the Arts and Sciences in Flagstaff, Arizona. This year there will be two recipients: Nando Schellen and Robert Breunig.

Nando (Fernandus) Schellen (at right) was the longtime Director of Opera Theater at Northern Arizona University where he directed countless musical productions and impacted the lives of thousands of students until his retirement in 2015. He passed away on March 28, 2016. Read more about Nando on his Legacy page.

Robert Breunig (at left) was the Director of the Museum of Northern Arizona, where he continues to work as President Emeritus and has held other positions going back to 1977. Dr. Breunig led the Museum through incredible growth and out of conflict and challenges he inherited when hired in 2003. Read more about Dr. Breunig on his Legacy page.

There are twenty-nine first-time nominees this year, including every nominee in the Excellence in Storytelling and Emerging Artist categories. Karen Knorowski gets her first nod for the Rainbow de Rio mosaic mural project in the Visual Arts category, and Judith Cloud is recognized for her original composition, Beethoven’s Slippers, in the Performing Arts category.

The nominee pool includes a few former Viola Award winners, too. James Jay, a two-time Viola Award winner for Literature and Storytelling, is part of three nominations this year. He is nominated with Jesse Sensibar in Leadership, and Uptown Pubhouse, which he owns with his wife Aly, is nominated in Business for the Arts. Jay is also the co-Editor of Jim Simmerman’s nominated poetry book. Linda Sutera, former Viola Award winner for Excellence in the Performing Arts, is nominated for her electric turn as Violet in Theatrikos Theatre Company’s August: Osage County. Other former winners nominated this year include Shawn Skabelund, Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra, and Joe Maniglia.

A record 186 nominations were sent in to the Arts Council from members of the community. Panels of former Viola winners, experts, educators and artists reviewed all nominations and selected the official nominees.

Many of this year’s nominees will be featured at the Viola Nominee Showcase event, scheduled for Friday, February 10, 2017, at the Coconino Center for the Arts. The lineup will be announced later this month.

Tickets are available now for the Viola Awards Gala at High Country Conference Center on Saturday, March 4, 2017. The title sponsor for the event is Northern Arizona University. The premier sponsor is the Babbitt Brothers Foundation.

Purchase Tickets

2017 Official Viola Award Nominees