Tennessee Governor Announces Arts Awards
2011 awards will be presented at Conservation Hall
March 21, 2011NASHVILLE — Tennessee's highest honor in the arts will be awarded April 12, 2011 to eight recipients that exemplify the state's finest cultural traditions. Established in 1971, the Governor's Arts Awards will be presented by Gov. Bill Haslam and First Lady Crissy Haslam in a special ceremony produced by the Tennessee Arts Commission.
"Culture and art help to form our state both in its beauty and heritage," Governor Haslam said. "We congratulate all the winners for the legacies of art they have created for each one of us to enjoy."
"The 2011 recipients represent excellence and the rich diversity that defines the state's cultural life," says Rich Boyd, executive director of the Tennessee Arts Commission.
Recipients were selected from a field of nominees in three different categories.
The Folklife Heritage Award recognizes folk artists or organizations that have made outstanding contributions to artistic tradition. The award is intended to honor long-term achievements within art forms that are rooted in the traditional culture of Tennessee.
Receiving Folklife Heritage Awards are The Blues Foundation of Memphis, an organization that serves as a hub for the worldwide passion for Blues music; Thomas Maupin of Murfreesboro, a self-taught, traditional buck dancer who is carrying on the multi-generational legacy of his family's old-time dance style; and Charles Towler of Cleveland, one of the most highly-respected figures in the world of southern gospel convention singing.
Arts Leadership Awards will be presented to Patrick W. Halloran, III of Memphis, and the W.O. Smith Nashville Community Music School. Recipients in this category may come from arts organizations, business, educators, patrons, arts administrators, corporations, or volunteers who have demonstrated significant support or participation in activities which foster excellence in, appreciation of, or access to the arts throughout the state.
Halloran is a visionary leader who played a key role in the preservation of the Orpheum Theatre, and positioned the theater as an economic development partner with downtown Memphis — a vibrant cultural treasure. Once a derelict building, the Orpheum Theatre now thrives as a world-class performing arts facility.
Since its inception in 1984, the W.O. Smith Nashville Community Music School has made affordable, quality music instruction available to children from low-income families. The nationally acclaimed after-school program continues to transform lives through music, and has changed the cultural and artistic fabric of Middle Tennessee's young people.
The Distinguished Artist Award recognizes artists of exceptional talent and creativity in any discipline, who over the course of a career, have contributed to the arts and have helped guide and influence directions, trends, and aesthetic practices on a state or national level.
Three outstanding Tennessee artists have been named as recipients of the Distinguished Artist Award. They are: Estelle Condra of Nashville, a professional actor, inspiring storyteller, teacher, and writer who has been legally blind since childhood; Johnny Maddox of Gallatin, one of the most highly regarded Ragtime pianist of the last 60 years who has made hundreds of recordings and sold more than 11 million records; and Dolph Smith of Ripley, a highly creative and innovative artist who has inspired thousands of students and a large number of working artists across the region.
The recipients of the Governor's Arts Awards will join individuals and organizations that have been recognized over the past 41 years.