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Volume 26, Number 5 — May 2019

AAME announces the 2017 Arts Achievement Awards winners

By Leslie Grace | A! Magazine for the Arts | March 29, 2017

The Arts Alliance Mountain Empire has chosen the 2017 Arts Achievement Awards winners.

The winners include Nancy Arnold, who has been a leader of the YWCA's "Tribute to Women," is an accomplished singer with many lead roles in Theatre Bristol musical productions and for 16 years has been on the Barter Theatre's Board of Trustees.

Schery Collins is an accomplished pianist, organist and +utist who has performed for over 50 years with the Symphony of the Mountains. She co-founded and performed with several classical groups and serves as the organist and choir director at St. Thomas
Episcopal church.

Marvin and Marcia Gilliam are among the region's strongest supporters and advocates of the arts, including support for Barter Theatre where the main stage is named the Gilliam Stage, William King Museum of Art, the Symphony of the Mountains and UVA Wise, where the Gilliam Center for the Arts was recently built with their support.

Beth McCoy is a published composer who also has been one of the primary leaders of children's choirs in the Tri-Cities region, serving for 14 years as the artistic director of the East Tennessee Children's Choir and the Highlands Youth Ensemble and developing the program into the Mountain Empire Children's Choral Academy, a MECCA for young singers.

Ben Walls is an internationally award-winning nature photographer whose large-scale work has been exhibited in over 50 museums around the world, including the Smithsonian and the Natural History Museum of London. He has been called an artist to watch.

The Gala celebration is held Saturday, May 20, at 6 p.m. at the Holiday Inn in Bristol, Virginia. The evening consists of cocktails, dinner, a silent art auction, the awards ceremony, and entertainment by a string quartet. Tickets are $100 for individuals, with tables for eight available for $600. Tickets can be purchased by sending a check to AAME, Box 94, Bristol, TN 37621, or online at,