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.
The winners of the 2009 Viola Award Winners are…
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
Crooked Arrow Jackson
Ballet Folklorico de Colores
Canyon Movement Company
Human Nature Dance Theatre
Theatrikos Theatre Company
The Foot Solejahs
Flagstaff Light Opera Company
Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra
Grand Canyon Guitar Society
Master Chorale of Flagstaff
Northern Arizona Book Festival
Joe Cornett, Sr.
Marshall Magnet Elementary School
NAU Community Music & Dance Academy
Lea J. Parker
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
Divinity Tattoo North
Eagle 103.7 FM
The Orpheum Presents
Tony Freeman of Nature Exposed Photography
STUDENT ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Alma Angelina Aispuro
LIFETIME CONTRIBUTION TO THE ARTS
Joe Cornett, Sr.