Viola-Awards-Logo_2016_V_web_MThe Flagstaff Arts Council is proud to announce the winners of the 2016 Viola Awards. The 8th annual Gala event was held at High Country Conference Center in Flagstaff, Arizona, on March 5, 2016, and featured forty-nine nominees in eight categories. Over 650 people attended the event – a new record – stretching the capacity of the venue to its limits.

Photos from the event are posted online now.

The 2016 Viola Award Winners are:


Charly Spining, long time Flagstaff musician and educator, was honored with the Viola Legacy Award for Lifetime Contribution to the Arts. Spining was a founding member of the Flagstaff Light Opera Company. The pub and grill in downtown Flagstaff at the Weatherford Hotel is named partly after him for his piano music over the years. Learn more about Spining here.

Facts and interesting tidbits about the 2016 Viola Awards:

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    Tom Williams’ 2016 Viola Award – photo by Tom Alexander

    This year’s awards were created by metal artist and sculptor Tom Williams of Twisted Horn Forge (see photo)

  • Mike Levin became the fourth two-time recipient of a Viola Award (Becky Daggett, James Jay, and Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra); he won in 2015 for his role in God of Carnage
  • Levin is also the only person or organization to be nominated eight times, every year in the history of the Viola Awards
  • Areya Kugler became the youngest Viola Award winner in history at sixteen years old
  • The third time is the charm for winners Jeff Hall and the Framing Department at Hidden Light, both of whom won on their third consecutive nomination
  • Winners Kaci Heins, Jane Armstrong, Christopher Taylor, and Vicki Thompson were all first-time nominees
  • Bryan David Griffith, two-time nominee, won for his sculptural installation art as part of the Fires of Change exhibition
  • Charly Spining joins an impressive list of Viola Legacy Award winners that includes Don Bendel, Michael Kabotie, and William Lowell Putnam
  • Fifty video interviews premiered on the big screen at the Gala event, featuring Charly Spining and all forty-nine nominees discussing their art and their work that led to their recognition – the videos can be seen on each nominee page
  • A bloopers reel of the interviews was played at the end of the night – all videos are posted on Flagstaff Arts Council’s YouTube channel