About the 2016 Viola Awards

2016 Award Winners

2016 Nominees

2016 Event Photos & Videos

2016 Sponsors

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About the 2016 Viola Awards

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 (pictured) 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
  • areya at podiumCharly 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 (see below) – all videos are posted on Flagstaff Arts Council’s YouTube channel

    Official 2016 Viola Award Winners

    The 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 620 people attended the event – a new record – stretching the capacity of the venue to its limits.

    The 2016 Viola Award Winners are:



    Official 2016 Viola Award Nominees

    Viola-Awards-Logo_2016_V_web_MForty-nine nominees were selected in eight different categories for contributions made in 2016. A panel of forty-one artists, educators, past Viola Award winners, and professionals in the field selected the nominees from many more submitted to the Arts Council by community members over the past year. Some previous Viola Award winners are among this year’s nominees: Joe Maniglia, Mike Levin, Joe Cornett, Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra, Tow’rs, Flagstaff Arts & Leadership Academy, Linda Sutera, and Kevin Schindler. Mike Levin, 2016 Arts Educator nominee and 2015 Viola Award winner in the Performing Arts, is the only individual to have been nominated for a Viola Award every year since the event began in 2009.

    Spining-CharlyAt the Gala event, the Arts Council honored Charly Spining. He received the Viola Legacy Award, which recognizes Lifetime Contribution to the Arts. Spining is a musician, educator and one of the founding Board members of the Flagstaff Light Opera Company. The restaurant in downtown Flagstaff at the Weatherford Hotel is named after him.

    To learn more about the Viola Awards, visit the Viola Awards section of our website.

    2016 Official Viola Award Nominees

    Click on each nominated project or nominee for more information and interview video.

    2016 Viola Event Photos & Videos

    Winner Photos
    Event Photos

    Special thanks to Brian Cass of Echo Productions for his video production work. He is the producer behind all the nominee videos. Click here to view our YouTube channel to see all the videos in one place.

    Here’s the blooper reel that was shown during the Gala event:

    2016 Viola Award Sponsors

    The Flagstaff Arts Council would like to salute the Babbitt Brothers Foundation for its long-standing support of the Viola Awards. The Foundation has been the title sponsor of the Viola Awards for its first eight years. Without their support, this amazing community program wouldn’t have become the wild success it is today.

    Title Sponsor


    Premier Sponsor


    Major Sponsors







    Findlay Toyota


    Garrey, Woner, Hoffmaster & Peshek, P.C. » Andrew Peshek APS_color

    Table Sponsors

    National Bank of Arizona

    Aspen Loft Artists


    Dorlee Henderson

    Coconino County Board of Supervisors

    Flagstaff Arts & Leadership Academy

    The Gallery in Williams

    Peter & Cathy Jolma

    Rimkus Consulting Group

    Marshall Magnet Elementary School

    City of Flagstaff

    Mountain Heart Health Services

    Theatrikos Theatre Company

    The Arboretum at Flagstaff

    Brandy’s Restaurant

    Flagstaff Festival of Science

    Sei Saito

    Haralson, Miller, Pitt, Feldman and McAnally, PLC

    Tom Alexander Photography / The Framing Department

    Uptown Pubhouse

    Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra

    Lowell Observatory

    Erik Whiteman