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Volume 26, Number 5 — May 2019

Virginia arts agencies honor Lu Ellsworth

May 28, 2014

On May 25 at the Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Virginians for the Arts and the Virginia Commission for the Arts honored Dr. Lucius F. Ellsworth for his long-term commitment to the arts. He was recognized for his outstanding service and leadership of both organizations and for his significant impact on public support for the arts in Virginia.

"Lu's sustained and exemplary commitment to public service on behalf of the arts at the local, state and national levels broadens the reach of the arts to the public," according to Virginians for the Arts president John "Butch" Davies. "He has been passionate about ensuring that all Virginians have access to quality arts experiences throughout their lives." Virginia Commission for the Arts Board Chair Lisa Alderman added, "We are grateful to have had Lu's time, tremendous energy and expertise over many years. His devotion to strengthening the arts and arts programming for our communities and beyond has also served to inspire others to be involved and share their voice and passion for the arts."

A tireless arts advocate, Ellsworth served on the board of Virginians for the Arts for more than 20 years, from its earliest beginnings. He served two terms as president and was instrumental in the formation of Virginians for the Arts Foundation. More recently, he served as interim executive director of VFTA. Ellsworth has held leadership positions with the Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Commission, Symphony of the Mountains, Pro-Art, Inc. and the Community Arts Council of Buchanan County, among others.

Appointed to the Virginia Commission for the Arts in 2001 by Governor James Gilmore and reappointed by Governor Mark Warner, Ellsworth served as VCA chair from 20032009. Under his leadership, the commission reached its largest state appropriation in history. He helped maintain bipartisan support from policymakers, establish the Virginia Heritage Awards, and create MINDS WIDE OPEN: Virginia Celebrates Women in the Arts, an initiative to demonstrate the breadth and diversity of the arts across the state.

Ellsworth served for six years on the board of the National Association of State Arts Agencies. As a member of the executive committee, he raised the national profile of the arts in Virginia. He was awarded NASAA's Distinguished Public Service Award in 2010.

A historian, Ellsworth lives in Wise with his wife, Phyllis Hatcher. He has been a college professor and administrator and was the first president of the Appalachian School of Law. In addition to his volunteer work in the arts, Ellsworth is active in the United Methodist Church and in Hospice of Virginia. He is operations manager at Heartwood in Abingdon, Va.

Topics: Achievements