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Volume 26, Number 2 — February 2019

Arts Achievement Awards winners announced

Deanna Cole-Roberts
Deanna Cole-Roberts
Additional photos below »

By Leslie Grace | A! Magazine for the Arts | March 30, 2015

BRISTOL, Tenn. — The Arts Alliance Mountain Empire announces the winners of its first Arts Achievement Awards. The awards are designed to recognize five individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the arts in the Tri-Cities region.

The winners for 2015 are Deanna Cole-Roberts, Charles Goolsby, Val Lyle, Rick Rose and Laura Ann Warner.

The five awards have come from these categories: Artist — Achievement in the Arts: Theatre, Music, Dance, Visual Arts, Literary Arts, or Photography; Arts Educator — Achievement in arts education in a college or university, primary or secondary schools; Arts Administrators — Achievement in the management of arts institutions; and Arts Advocate — Achievement in sustaining the arts through volunteering or financial support.

Deanna Cole-Roberts is the founder and director of The Highlands Center for Ballet Arts in Abingdon. She has 67 years of involvement in classical ballet, including being a principal dancer in the Southeast for over 25 years. Cole-Roberts was a charter/founding member of the Hardinge Ballet Company in Bristol and was instrumental in the founding of the Dance Department at Virginia Intermont College where she taught for 17 years. She is still going strong: teaching, choreographing, and directing along with her daughter Deirdre. A native of Bristol, Cole-Roberts lives on her 39 acre farm in Holston Valley with her three Golden doodles.

Charles Goolsby, professor of art at Emory & Henry College, is one of the most notable names in the fine arts in the region. His distinctive, compelling paintings have received wide critical acclaim, and his name is now associated with art that fuses bold, often brutal, execution with subtle nuances and mood. A practicing professional artist for more than 35 years, Goolsby's work has been featured in more than 45 solo exhibitions throughout the southeastern United States at various venues. Many of his students, influenced by his style as well as his passion for art, have gone on to successful careers as fine artists, art educators and graphic artists as well as professionals in advertising and marketing.

Val Lyle is best known publicly for the "Take the Stage" bronze sculptures of a gal playing the fiddle and a guy playing guitar across from the Birthplace of Country Music Museum. She also has seven permanent public artworks in the area and has maintained a strong presence as an independent studio artist in the Tri-Cities. "I start with the concept; then I choose the medium best suited to expressing that concept" says Lyle, who works in traditional and contemporary 2D, 3D and 4D media. She has been a studio artist at the William King Museum of Art for many years and is widely collected and represented in numerous public and private collections as well as having had had many solo exhibitions.

Richard Rose is now in his 23rd year as the producing artistic director of the Barter Theatre in Abingdon, and the theater's only third artistic director in its 82-year-old history. He has led the theater to unprecedented growth in attendance and in expansion of programs serving the region in culture, education, economic expansion and community building. Rose has not only directed dozens of productions over his career but his original adaptations of plays have been extremely popular as well. Among his recent triumphs as a director were "Wizard of Oz," "Man of La Mancha" and "Driving Miss Daisy" from last season and this season's "Anything Goes."

Laura Ann Warner began her 50-year career by serving as a music teacher in Bristol, Tennessee, where she earned the local Teacher of the Year Award and was a finalist at the state level. She also served many years as the organist at First Presbyterian Church and as an active member of the Bristol Music Club and on the board of the Paramount Chamber Players. Today's Mountain Empire Children's Choral Academy has Warner to thank for keeping the dream of a professional, regional children's choir alive. As the East Tennessee Children's Choir board chair, Warner served the ETCC as its accompanist, publicity chair, activities coordinator, disciplinarian, parent coordinator and assistant to the director.

The selections were based on artistic excellence, perseverance and a deep commitment and sustained contributions to the arts and the cultural community.

A gala awards ceremony will be held the evening of May 16 at the Holiday Inn in Bristol, Virginia, to honor the winners. Tickets will be $100 for individuals, and tables for eight can be purchased for $600. Further information about tickets can be obtained from the AAME website, WWWW.AAME.INFO or by calling 276-494-9925.

The Arts Alliance Mountain Empire is an arts council formed as a service organization for artists, arts organizations and other cultural endeavors throughout the Mountain Empire. The mission of AAME is to nurture, advocate and celebrate the arts. AAME fulfills its mission primarily as the publisher of A! Magazine for the Arts, but it also has published an arts directory and has sponsored lectures series and workshops on arts-related topics.

Topics: Achievements, Art

Charles Goolsby

Val Lyle

Rick Rose

Laura Ann Warner