At the 9th Annual Viola Awards Gala on Saturday, March 4, 2017, the Flagstaff Arts Council announced the winners of the 2017 Viola Awards. The event honored forty-two nominees in eight categories. Over 600 people were in attendance at the Gala event.

Two Viola Legacy Awards were given to honor lifetime contributions in the arts and/or sciences in Flagstaff. Dr. Robert Breunig, former Director of the Museum of Northern Arizona, was honored first for his leadership and successes in not only helping the museum recover from past troubles, but also in bringing it to a high level of excellence in all phases of its operation.

The second Legacy Award went to Nando Schellen (1938-2016), former Director of NAU Opera Theatre. Schellen had a major impact on Flagstaff and specifically students at NAU over the course of his fifteen years in the position.

2017 Viola Award Winners

Excellence in Performing Arts:
Dark Sky Aerial for OPIA

Excellence in Performing Arts:
Janice ChenJu Chiang & Shawn Skabelund for Composition for Forests

Excellence in Storytelling:
Klee Benally for Power Lines

Excellence in Storytelling:
Elizabeth Hellstern for The Telepoem Booth

Excellence in Visual Arts:
David Christiana for Portraits of Petrichor

Legacy Award:
Nando Schellen

Excellence in Science Education:
Jillian Worssam

Emerging Artist:
Kristopher Kohl

Business for the Arts:
Melissa Cripps, State Farm

Excellence in Leadership:
Michael Vincent

Legacy Award:
Dr. Robert Breunig

Excellence in Arts Education:
Sheila White