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Volume 26, Number 4 — April 2019

Banquet to honor Tribute to Women Winners

Honorees from the arts community are, clockwise from top left, Ann Holler, Barbara Brown Jernigan, Cindy Saadeh and Leah Ross.
Honorees from the arts community are, clockwise from top left, Ann Holler, Barbara Brown Jernigan, Cindy Saadeh and Leah Ross.

April 01, 2011

BRISTOL, TN/VA — The Bristol YWCA's 20th annual Tribute to Women recognizes women in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia who are devoted to enriching the quality of life for others through cultural, educational and charitable endeavors.

Award recipients will be honored during a reception and banquet on Thursday, April 28.

Among the 12 honorees this year are four women involved in the arts:

Ann K. Holler has vastly contributed to developing arts programs that serve this community. She was the founding pres-ident for Arts Alliance Mountain Empire (AAME), the non-profit organization that has published the award-winning A! Magazine for the Arts since 2004. Since 2001 she has chaired the magazine committee, overseeing the editorial, circulation, and marketing facets of its operation. A! Magazine informs readers about the arts and helps artists and arts organizations reach their own goals through collaborative promotion. Ann's leadership in this endeavor, as well as extensive time spent collaborating with other volunteers developing the organization and the publication, have proven to be an irreplaceable asset to our region. As an educator, she is one of the most respected piano instructors in the area and teaches advanced music classes at King College in Bristol. She has been the Appalachian Music Teachers Association's Teacher of the Year and Composer of the Year.

Barbara Brown Jernigan is not just outstanding because she's an active teacher of and participant in the arts. To quote her nominator, it is "the unbound compassion she has for those who struggle in art and life." Guided by a love for the difficult medium of watercolor painting, she has dedicated her life to honoring the lives of others, whether it is teaching them to use art to express pain and difficulty, or promoting the works of other artists to raise money to support arts in the schools. She has shared her knowledge of the arts by participating in the Watauga Valley Art League, Kingsport Art Guild and Tennessee Watercolor Society, and also organized her art classes to paint cards for elderly shut-ins at Christmas.

Leah Ross is a tenacious ambassador for the arts. She has earned a reputation as a leader and visionary for Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion (BRRR). During her tenure as Executive Director, Leah has helped grow the music festival into a world-class event, re-igniting the enthusiasm for our Appalachian sound in Bristol and beyond. With Ross at the helm, BRRR has received the Shining Example Award for Festival of the Year, the Virgo Award for Best Destination Event of the Year and the Pinnacle Award for Special Events in the Cultural Arts Division. Leah has worked tirelessly to promote our musical heritage, to persuade legislatures to fund the arts and to encourage economic development through cultural heritage ventures and initiatives.

Cindy Saadeh has been described as outstanding, inspiring, dedicated, and generous. An artist who moved to Kingsport several years ago, she has been a key component in the growth of the arts community there. A supporter of the revitalization of downtown Kingsport, her enthusiasm and leadership not only opened the doors for many local and regional artists but also helped with the growth and education of the visual arts in her community. While her work has been shown and sold all over the Southeast, her legacy will be most impacted by her gift of sharing vision and the desire for others to succeed as well.