Viola Awards Logo_2015_MASTERTo a record crowd of over 600 people*, the winners of the 2015 Viola Awards for Excellence in the Arts were announced at High Country Conference Center in Flagstaff, Arizona. The 7th annual Gala event took place on Saturday, March 7, 2015.

Forty-two nominees were up for awards in eight categories. The official 2015 Viola Award winners are listed below. Click on each name to learn more about the winner.


Excellence in the Visual Arts

Two winners:
Ulrike Arnold for Earth Art
Tina Mion for Memento Mori

Excellence in the Performing Arts

Adrienne Bischoff, Becky Daggett, Mike Levin and Joe Maniglia for God of Carnage

Excellence in Storytelling

James Jay and Jesse Sensibar for Narrow Chimney Reading Series

Excellence in Arts Education

Thomas Byers

Excellence in Science Education

David Thompson

Business for the Arts

Hozhoni Foundation

Excellence in Leadership

Todd Sullivan

Emerging Artist Award




2015 Viola Award Design

The 2015 Viola Award was designed by local artist and educator, Sonja London-Hall, who was also a nominee for Excellence in Arts Education. Sonja is an Arizona native and local artist.  She has been an active member of the Flagstaff arts community, Flagstaff and Sedona galleries for the past 20 years.  The award this year was designed to pay homage to Viola and the arts which “make the world go round” represented by the gears and spinning world.

2015 Viola Award Gala Noteworthy Items:

  • *This was the highest attendance ever at a Viola Award Gala, with 600 people total (560 seated guests and 40 more staff, volunteers and performers).
  • The Gala was highlighted by performances by Emerging Artist nominee Flagstaff Aerial Arts and winner Tow’rs.
  • Mike Levin, who took home the Viola for his work with three other actors in God of Carnage, is one of only two individuals (Seth Muller) that has been nominated for a Viola Award in all seven years of the event’s history.
  • Emcee Andres Adauto, also known as Dapper Dre, brought a fun, high energy element to the night.
  • The first-ever tie in a category was recorded this year, with two individuals taking home the coveted Excellence in the Visual Arts Award: Tina Mion for Memento Mori, and Ulrike Arnold for Earth Art at the Museum of Northern Arizona. While a tie is indeed rare, it’s clear that both exhibitions were worthy of the recognition.
  • Forty-two video interviews were premiered on the big screen at the event, featuring all 42 nominees discussing their art and their work that led to their recognition.
  • A bloopers reel of the interviews was played at the end of the night. All videos will be posted on Flagstaff Arts Council’s YouTube channel this week.
  • Photos from the Gala, both of the winners and from the photo booth, will be posted on the Arts Council’s website and Facebook page by Sunday evening, March 8.