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2017 Viola Award winners

2017 Viola Award winners, plus Dapper Dre. Photo by Matt Beaty


Named after late painter and long-time arts advocate Viola Babbitt, the Viola Awards recognize businesses, educators and artists who contribute positively to the arts and sciences in Flagstaff, and this year marks 10 years since its inception. “This being our 10th year anniversary, it’s a big year, and we wanted to be more inclusive,” said Sarah Smallwood, marketing director for the Flagstaff Arts Council. “We wanted to leave no stone unturned.” And on Sunday Jan. 7, the council announced its finalists for the 10th Annual Viola Awards, adding three new categories: music, innovation and community impact, both for individuals and organizations. 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.” Congratulations to all the finalists for the 10th Annual Viola Awards, and thank you for making Flagstaff a home for the arts. For more information on the Viola Awards Showcase and Gala, visit

FRIDAY | 1.12


Instead of drinking just to get drunk, why not learn something new? While still drinking, of course. Swing by Uptown Pubhouse, 114 N. Leroux St., after work for a tour of whiskies from around the world. Expert bartender James Jay will be your tour guide teaching participants about Stranahan’s Whiskey (from Colorado), Iwai Tradition (from Japan), Glen Moray 16 year (from Scotland) and The Irishman Single Malt 12 year (from Ireland). Bottles will be available to purchase as well, just in case you find something you’d like to take home and enjoy in the future. The tasting tour is $20, and will go from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

FRIDAY | 1.12


Tenth Mountain Division, hailing from Boulder, CO., respectfully derives their name from the U.S. Army light infantry division specializing in mountainous warfare and arctic conditions. Perfect for a band whose DNA resonates with the mountains, a band whose self-ascribed genre is “ski rock.” But don’t think of TMD as a party band, “I understand why people may think we’re a party band,” said Winston Heuga (mandolin/vocals) in an interview with Get Boulder. “But I think there is a lot behind our lyrics. I think we’re trying to reach for something more. We’re all interested in being in this business for the long run.” Originally starting off as a bluegrass duo featuring Heuga and MJ Ouimette on guitar, TMD has evolved into a full-on quintet, blending blues, funk and Americana, released their first studio album entitled Crack the Sky and have shared the stage with artists including Nicki Bluhm, Jon Stickley Trio and Jeff Coffin. Catch them this Friday, Jan. 12, at the Orpheum Theater with DuB & Down With The Blues and Sap Dabblers. Tickets are $6.50. Doors open at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m. More information at

SUNDAY | 1.14


“Everything I know I learned from records (Though I often misheard the words)” sings Georgio ‘the Dove’ Valentino in a loose translation of Italian singer-songwriter Pierro Ciampi’s “Sobborghi.” Valentino, an independent American singer, takes influence from all over the world with his newest album, The Future Lasts a Long Time, released this past December. The songs were recorded in different studios in Melbourne, Athens, Luxembourg and Los Angeles, and he collaborated with other creative souls to add to the album’s overall theme of the joys and dangers of a life lived in pop. Valentino has produced six DIY records since his solo debut in 2007, performing hundreds of shows across four continents. Currently living and working in Luxembourg, the singer combines spoken word passages with instrumentals for a unique listening experience giving a personal look into his mind along with some covers of well-known songs like David Bowie’s “As the World Falls Down.” Valentino will be opening for Swords of Fatima during a free show this weekend at the Green Room, 15 N. Agassiz St. Doors are at 8 p.m. Visit for more information.

Lowell's impact on Flagstaff

Lowell Observatory public program educator Erik Lehmkuhl talks about the Pluto Discovery Telescope during a tour of the observatory in 2015. Photo by Jake Bacon

MONDAY | 1.15


Space may not truly be the final frontier. A 2013 article by the Schmidt Ocean Institute explains that roughly five percent of the earth’s seafloor has been mapped out in detail, leaving 65 percent unexplored. In contrast, years of work done by NASA have provided us with thorough maps of Mercury, the dwarf planet Ceres, our moon and more. Although many people think of space as being dark and cold, that’s nothing compared to the bottom of the ocean where light is swallowed by darkness and alien-like creatures lurk. Since there’s no knowledge of what’s really living in the deepest and darkest parts of the ocean, count us out of any submarine or deep sea snorkeling trips you may have coming up. But we would be willing to take a visual trip to space. Lowell Observatory is offering a Community Day with free admission for Northern Arizona University Students and Flagstaff locals this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. From 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., astronomers will have their telescopes aimed to the skies. Guided tours of the observatory will also be offered. Once the sun goes down, visitors will get to look at the featured celestial object of the month, the Orion Nebula, as long as the weather cooperates with clear skies. Located below Orion’s Belt in the constellation of Orion, the red-tinged nebula can be visible to the naked eye but telescopes can provide a clearer image. Stop by 1400 W. Mars Hill Road to see what’s out there. Visit or call 233-3280 for more information.


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