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Nominees for Flagstaff Art Council's 2021 Viola Awards Gala announced

Nominees for Flagstaff Art Council's 2021 Viola Awards Gala announced

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“No town, no city is complete without its art, without its spirit,” artist Shonto Begay said when he was honored at last year’s Viola Awards Gala as a Legacy Award winner. “Because I believe art is the spirit and the soul of the community.”

A little more than a week after the gala, arts organizations across Flagstaff temporarily closed to the public in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19, leaving many reeling in the wake of uncertainty.

Every year, the Viola Awards recognize local artists, educators, organizations and leaders who make positive contributions to the arts and sciences. Pandemic or not, the show must go on, and Flagstaff is home to many talented and innovative folks. They faced obstacles head on as musicians and performance artists continued baring their souls without the energy of an audience, and teachers worked to make sure their students had all the tools needed to succeed (even if that looked more like lending a listening ear than hands-on support during a year of virtual learning).

From nearly 200 nominations submitted to the Flagstaff Arts Council from members of the community, 36 finalists will be honored this year across nine categories. Two Legacy Award winners will also be celebrated for their decades of dedication to the arts and sciences—choral professor and conductor Dr. Edith Copley and retired Lowell Observatory astronomer Nat White.

All finalists will be honored at the Viola Awards event on Friday, June 18, at the Pepsi Amphitheater at Fort Tuthill to allow for social distancing and fresh air. Visit for more information and to purchase tickets, starting at $30, in advance.

Without further ado, here are the nominees for the 14th annual Viola Awards.

Excellence in Visual Arts:

  • Parched: The Art of Water in the Southwest
  • Eric Retterbush: The Resilience Series
  • PIVOT at Brandy’s Restaurant

Excellence in Performing Arts:

  • Horizon Concert Series: Voice of the Whale
  • Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra: The Nutcracker
  • Flagstaff Shakespeare Festival: As You Like It
  • Ed Kabotie: Coyote Inna Quarantine & 500 Years
  • F-Town Sound: Feb. 29, 2020 performance at The Orpheum

Excellence in Music:

  • An Illustrated Mess
  • Tow’rs
  • Sci-Fi Country
  • Sean Golightly

Excellence in Storytelling:

  • The Man in the Dog Park: Coming Up Close to Homelessness: Cathy A. Small, Jason Kordosky, & Ross Moore
  • Walking Flagstaff Photo Journal: George Breed
  • Parched: The Art of Water in the Southwest Documentary: Julie Comnick, Jane Marks and Nick Geib
  • Deidra Peaches: 2020 films
  • Austin Aslan: 2020 works

Excellence in STEAM:

  • Flagstaff Festival of Science
  • Parched: The Art of Water in the Southwest
  • Lowell Observatory
  • Tynkertopia

Excellence in Education:

  • Dr. Alice Christie
  • Kayley Quick
  • Melinda McKinney
  • Owen Davis
  • Stephanie Yingst Galloway

Emerging Artist:

  • Grace Noelle
  • Lauren Sarantopulos
  • Revel Lucien
  • Sierra Bryan
  • Tyrrell Tapaha

Community Impact Individual:

  • Duane Koyawena
  • Emma Gardner
  • John Taylor
  • Nick Geib
  • Scotty Jensen

Community Impact Organization:

  • Exodus Program & Pop-Up Art Show
  • Flagstaff Shakespeare Festival
  • Flagstaff Festival of Science
  • MOCAF (Museum of Contemporary Art Flagstaff)
  • The Murdoch Center & Southside Community Association

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