The Viola Awards have been celebrating Flagstaff’s finest in music, storytelling and performance and visual arts for a decade. Named after late painter and long-time arts advocate Viola Babbitt, the awards recognize businesses, educators and artists who contribute positively to the arts and sciences in Flagstaff.

Finalists for the 10th Annual Viola Awards have been announced by the Flagstaff Arts Council, which added three categories this year: music, innovation and community impact, both for individuals and organizations.

“We wanted to leave no stone unturned,” said Sarah Smallwood, marketing director for the council. “This being our 10th year anniversary, it’s a big year, and we wanted to be more inclusive.”

Some finalists in the new categories are Tow’rs’ album “Grey Fidelity” for Excellence in Music, Dark Sky Aerial’s TILT performance in Innovation, Dawn Tucker of the Flagstaff Shakespeare Festival for Community Impact (Individual) and the Flagstaff Foundry for Community Impact (Organization).

Other finalists include Annette McGivney in the category for Excellence in Storytelling for her new book, “Pure Land,” Mural Mice for Excellence in Visual Arts with their series of murals in 2017, and Quinn Scully for Emerging Artist.

With 43 official finalists selected by a volunteer panel of experts and past Viola Award winners, the Flagstaff Arts Council is preparing for the Viola showcase.

“The showcase is a great way to honor all of our finalists," Smallwood said. "We don’t want [the awards] to be this competition or battle. It’s really just a way to celebrate everyone, and if you’re selected as the winner then it’s just the icing on the cake.”

After the showcase, each category is assigned to respective panelists tasked with selecting the winners. Winners will be announced at the Viola Awards Gala in March. 

The 2018 Viola Awards Showcase will take place on Friday, Feb. 9, at the Coconino Center for the Arts. Winners will be presented on Sunday, March 13, at the High Country Conference Center at the 10th annual Viola Awards Gala. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.flagartscouncil.org.


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