The Flagstaff Arts Council is pleased to announce the nominees and Legacy Award winners for the 9th Annual Viola Awards. Forty-four nominees in eight categories will be honored at the Gala event, along with two recipients of the Viola Legacy Award, on Saturday, March 4, 2017, at High Country Conference Center in Flagstaff. The Viola Awards celebrate excellence in the arts and sciences in Flagstaff, Arizona. Former Arizona Commission on the Arts board member Robert Breunig will be one of two recipients of the Viola Legacy Award for Lifetime Contribution to the Arts and Sciences.

The Viola Legacy Award for Lifetime Contribution to the Arts and Sciences will be presented to Nando Schellen and Robert Breunig.

Nando (Fernandus) Schellen (at right) was the longtime Director of Opera Theater at Northern Arizona University where he directed countless musical productions and impacted the lives of thousands of students until his retirement in 2015. He passed away on March 28, 2016. Read more about Nando Schellen.

Robert Breunig (at left) was the Director of the Museum of Northern Arizona, where he continues to work as President Emeritus and has held other positions going back to 1977. Dr. Breunig led the Museum through incredible growth and out of conflict and challenges he inherited when hired in 2003. Read more about Dr. Breunig.

There are twenty-nine first-time nominees this year, including nominees in the Excellence in Storytelling and Emerging Artist categories. Karen Knorowski, a first-time nominee for the Rainbow de Rio mosaic mural project in the Visual Arts category, and Judith Cloud for her original composition, Beethoven’s Slippers, in the Performing Arts category.

The nominee pool includes former Viola Award winners. James Jay, a two-time Viola Award winner for Literature and Storytelling, is nominated with Jesse Sensibar in Leadership, and Uptown Pubhouse, which he owns with his wife Aly, is nominated in Business for the Arts. Jay is also the co-Editor of Jim Simmerman’s nominated poetry book. Linda Sutera, former Viola Award winner for Excellence in the Performing Arts, is nominated for her electric turn as Violet in Theatrikos Theatre Company’s August: Osage County. Other former winners nominated this year include Shawn Skabelund, Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra and Joe Maniglia.

A record 186 nominations were sent in to the Flagstaff Arts Council from members of the community. Panels consisting of former Viola winners, experts, educators and artists reviewed all nominations and selected the official nominees.

Many of this year’s nominees will be featured in a Viola Nominee Showcase event, scheduled for February 10, 2017, at the Coconino Center for the Arts. The Viola Awards Gala will be held at High Country Conference Center on March 4, 2017. For ticket information, click here.

2017 Official Viola Award Nominees

Excellence in Storytelling
Klee Benally: Power Lines
Jim Cheff: Mary Farfisa’s Outer Space Radio Theater
Melissa Sevigny: Mythical River
Peter Friederici: A New Form of Beauty
Jim Simmerman: The Blood and the Bone and the Flesh of It All
Coconino Community College: 25th Anniversary Reading
Lawrence Lenhart: The Well-Stocked and Gilded Cage
Elizabeth Hellstern: Telepoem Booth

Excellence in the Visual Arts
Karen Knorowski: Rainbow de Rio Mural
David Christiana: Portraits of Petrichor
Shawn Skabelund & Janice ChenJu Chiang: Composition for Forests
Curt Walters: A Retrospective

Excellence in the Arts Education
Leslie Baker
Betsy Hamill
Joe Maniglia
Sheila White
Joe Cornett

Excellence in Leadership
Michael Vincent
James Jay & Jesse Sensibar
Janelle Reasor
Mindy Bell

Excellence in the Performing Arts
Janice ChenJu Chiang & Shawn Skabelund: Composition for Forests
Linda Sutera for August: Osage County
Mother Road Trio: Album Release Concert
Flagstaff Arts & Leadership Academy: columbinus
NAU Theatre: Summer and Smoke
Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra: Mozart & Mahler
Judith Cloud: Beethoven’s Slippers
Dark Sky Aerial: OPIA

Emerging Artist
Kristopher Kohl
Jim Dugan
Grace Novak
Le Trebuchet
Abe Snider
Stacy Murison
False North
Sol Drop

Excellence in Science Education
Cassandra Roberts
Rich Krueger
Jillian Worssam

Business for the Arts
Firecreek Coffee Company
Melissa Cripps State Farm
Tom Alexander Photography
Uptown Pubhouse