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Volume 24, Number 8 — August 2017

AAME's Arts Achievement Awards

Steve Fey, president of AAME, served as the Gala's emcee.
Steve Fey, president of AAME, served as the Gala's emcee.
Additional photos below »

June 01, 2016

(The remarks below are those Steve Fey made to open the Arts Achievement Awards)
Good evening and welcome. I am Steve Fey, president of the board of directors of Arts Alliance Mountain Empire. The mission of AAME is to nurture, advocate, and celebrate the arts, and the folks we honor this evening do these things, and in spades.

They nurture, advocate and celebrate the arts, because the arts matter.

The arts matter because telling stories through theater teaches us about ourselves, our hopes, our dreams and our possibilities. Costumes and choreography matter as they give life to these stories, often showing the inner thoughts and feelings of characters in ways that mere spoken words alone only begin to express.

The arts matter because without them, everyday life would be flat. The arts can't survive without support organizations, and communities can't survive without the arts. A community with a rich arts culture will have a strong business, a strong educational, and a strong recreational culture as well. The arts cannot survive without dedicated leaders and administrators.

The arts matter because through the discipline of artistic training, children and youth learn much more than just a skill. They learn that difficult tasks can be accomplished by perseverance; they learn that as a team, they can say and achieve more than working alone; and they learn that beauty is seldom found in what is easy, but often in what is hard.

The arts matter because through the arts, the spiritual is experienced and understood. Through the arts, we learn that we are much more than mere flesh and bones, but are part of something much larger and greater.

The arts matter, because through the arts, we come to recognize that we are connected to our past and it is a part of us. We also, through the lens of the arts, come to realize that the work of the craftsman is often so much more, and that things about us that have utility are also made with vision and inspiration.

The arts matter to me, and I look forward to hearing the stories of tonight's honorees, because I know that the arts matter to them.




Winners of the AAME Arts Achievement Awards (left to right) are Bill Thomas, Diane Thomas, Betsy White, Nancy DeFriece, Amanda Aldridge and Michele Plescia.


Dr. David Champouillon and his musical friends entertained.


Mary Jones (left) talks to Sue Fulmer (right).


Gloria and Ken Oster visit with Ben and Merry Jennings.


Former Virginia State Senator William Wampler Jr. came to congratulate the award recipients.