The Viola Awards are Flagstaff’s Oscars for the arts and sciences community. Celebrating excellence in the arts and sciences, the Viola Awards recognize artists, educators, organizations and leaders who make positive contributions to the arts and sciences in Flagstaff. Nearly 600 people attend the gala event to celebrate and support these inspirational people and organizations.
Nominations are sent to Flagstaff Arts Council by the community at large; anyone can nominate an artist, leader, organization, business or event for an award in one of up to 12 categories. From this pool of nominees, a Panel of past Viola Award winners and experts in the field select nominees in each category to be the Official Viola Award Finalists. The Panel then meets to determine the winner in each category. The Viola Award winners are announced each year at the Viola Awards Gala Event.
The 2020 Viola Awards Gala will be held on Saturday, March 7.
The Viola Awards are named after Viola Babbitt (pictured), a long time advocate of the arts and painter. Viola was born in the Arizona territory in 1894. She taught music and reading before settling into a big house on Leroux Street in Flagstaff. She raised six children with her husband, Joseph. In the 1950’s, she started painting and later, established the Art Barn as Flagstaff’s first community arts center. She lobbied Coconino County to build a better facility for a community arts center: the Coconino Center for the Arts. Viola died in 1994, shortly after her 100th birthday.
The Viola Awards began in 2009 as a way to bring together and celebrate the arts in Flagstaff. The full archive of past nominees, winners, and photos of each Gala event from Viola Award history is available on our website.