2018 Viola Awards created by Elizabeth Bonzani

To an audience of over 600 patrons, the Flagstaff Arts Council announced the winners of the 2018 Viola Awards on Saturday, March 3, 2018, at the High Country Conference Center in Flagstaff, Arizona. The Viola Awards celebrate excellence in the arts and sciences in Flagstaff – like the Oscars, but for the arts in Flagstaff, and better and glitzier!

A total of twelve awards were announced at the Gala event, including new categories for Community Impact (and Individual award and Organization award), Excellence in Music, and the Innovation Award. Long-time Flagstaff filmmaker Ed George was the eleventh recipient of the Viola Legacy Award for Lifetime Contributions to the Arts.

To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Viola Awards, the Arts Council worked with local artists for a special night. Rachel Wilson created a textile installation at the entryway to the Gala titled Viola Arbor. Patrons walked through the installation to enter the Gala. The Master Chorale of Flagstaff, along with the Women’s and Men’s Chorales at Northern Arizona University, filled the event with song with over 150 singers. And the cast of Theatrikos Theatre Company’s Avenue Q performed to open the event. A video celebrated the Top Ten Moments in Viola Awards history.

Photos of the event will be posted on this site and the Arts Council Facebook page by the afternoon of Sunday, March 4.

2018 Viola Award Winners


Viola Legacy Award

Ed George


Excellence in Visual Arts
Mural Mice for 2017 Murals


Community Impact

AZ Historical Society for Todos Unidos


Community Impact
Janelle Reasor


Excellence in Storytelling
Annette McGivney for Pure Land


Excellence in Music
Tiny Bird for Halfway Up the Mountain


Business for the Arts
Firecreek Coffee Company


Emerging Artist
Kimberly Jarchow


Excellence in the Performing Arts

Dark Sky Aerial for TILT


Excellence in Arts Education
Tim McKay


Excellence in Science Education
Christine Sapio


Innovation Award
D. Blackhorse, A. Collier, T. Iurato, S. Skabelund for Hope & Trauma in a Poisoned Land

Facts and tidbits about the 2018 Viola Awards

  • Dark Sky Aerial became the first group to win back-to-back Viola Awards in the same category in consecutive years. They won in 2017 for Opia.
  • The grouping of the Master Chorale of Flagstaff with NAU Men’s and Women’s Chorales made for the largest group (over 150 people) to ever perform at the Viola Awards.
  • Several winners took home a Viola after being a previous Finalist:
    • Janelle Reasor and Firecreek Coffee Company both won after being named a Finalist for the third time.
    • This was the second nomination for Tim McKay.
    • The Mural Mice won this year on their fourth turn as a Finalist.
  • Shawn Skabelund became the first individual to win three Viola Awards. He previously won for Virga: the Hunt for Water in 2013, and with Janice ChenJu Chiang for Composition for Forests.
  • Elizabeth Bonzani crafted this year’s award. She says about her design: “I chose to incorporate geodes in the design of these awards, as they illustrate the beauty that is within all of us. Violet represents pure thought and our connection with infinite consciousness, and it is in this place that we produce our highest work.”
  • In ten years, the Viola Awards has hosted 5,008 attendees, honored 614 Finalists, given out 106 awards (including 11 Legacy Awards), and raised over a quarter million dollars to support the arts and sciences!

How are Viola Finalists and Winners Selected?

Please note: this video was made for the 2017 Viola Awards, but the process of selecting Finalists and Winners is very similar for 2018.