2017 Viola Award Nominee for Business for the Arts
Melissa Cripps, through her State Farm Agency, has been passionately supporting the arts in Flagstaff since 1989. She has lived in Flagstaff for over 40 years. Melissa was the 3rd generation to graduate from NAU after having studied music at ASU for 3 years.
Cripps is passionate about an organization she helped to found: Orchestra Northern Arizona, which is a non-profit, intergenerational community orchestra that brings together players of diverse backgrounds and levels of experience to share the joy of playing and performing classical music. Melissa and David Cripps, her husband, developed ONA because they wanted to provide art and culture that is accessible and free to all members to the Flagstaff community. Melissa is currently the Project Coordinator for the new YONA (youth orchestra), which is in its inaugural year. Melissa also plays the cello in Orchestra Northern Arizona.
Through her business, she sponsors many non-profit organizations throughout the community, including ONA, KNAU Arizona Public Radio, Flagstaff Arts Council, Girls on the Run, Flagstaff Sunrise Lions, and others.
Melissa has also served on other non-profit boards in the community, including the Flagstaff Arts Council where she served as President for two years, Citizens Against Substance Abuse, Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce, The American Heart Association, and Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra. She was a founding member of the Flagstaff Arts and Business Alliance (FABA). Melissa was also one of the early recipients of the Athena Award, for her mentoring of young women in the community and became the first representative from Arizona to the National Athena Foundation.