Every year, people ask us how the Viola Award nominees and winners are chosen. Is it by popular vote? Do the nominees with the most community nominations win?

Below is a video that describes the process.

If you prefer to read about how nominees and winners are selected, here is the description of the process:

Viola nominees and winners are chosen by peers in the community, past winners, experts, artists, and educators.

It all begins with an open call for nominations. This means anyone can nominate any individual, organization, or event they feel worthy of recognition. The process is open 11 months throughout the year. People could submit online, by phone, and by ballot boxes at various locations around town.

In 2016, a record 186 nominations were sent in to the Arts Council from members of the community. We then divided up that giant number of nominations between six staff members and a few volunteers to complete extensive research on each pre-nominee. We collected bios, news stories, videos and photos by scouring the internet and even getting testimonials and letters to support many submissions.

From there, we turned this huge volume of material over to the experts. Every one of the eight Viola categories has its own Panel that put in hours of work, watching entire performances, reading full books, and reviewing all nominations and supporting materials. The Panels met before the holidays. They selected up to eight official nominees in each category. Then they gathered in early February for a second meeting to select a winner.

The decisions are often agonizing, and not every submission can be included as a nominee. And when you look at all the great nominees, how do you pick a winner?

Thank you to all who submitted nominations, sat on a panels, or supported a nominee. It takes our entire community to make these Viola Awards possible!

See the bottom of this post for a full list of 2017 Panelists.

Lastly, check out this great video from 4FlagTV about the Viola Award Nominee Showcase event (click on the image to view):

Panelists – 2017 Viola Awards

Bruce Aiken
Jane Armstrong
Josh Armstrong
Bryan Bates
Matt Beaty
Mindy Bell
Sky Black
Thomas Byers
Joe Cornett
Ann Cummins
Becky Daggett
Jill Divine
Terri Engel
Nick Geib
Bryan David Griffith
Jeff Hall
Tracie Hansen
Dorlee Henderson
Larry Hendricks
Jean Hockman
C. Tanner Jensen
Ann Johnson
Areya Kugler
Ingrid Lee
Mike Levin
James Q Martin
Kyle Miller
Paul Moore
Tony Norris
Alan Petersen
Janelle Reasor
Paula Rice
Elena Sanchez Vizcaino
Kevin Schindler
Jacques Cazaubon Seronde
Shawn Skabelund
Sarah Smallwood
Mary Sojourner
Pam Stephens
Bonnie Stevens
Todd Sullivan
David Thompson
Stewart Thomson
Brandy Wojciak
Matt Ziegler