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Volume 26, Number 4 — April 2019

2019 Arts Achievement Awards winners announced

By Leslie Grace | A! Magazine for the Arts | March 27, 2019

The Arts Alliance Mountain Empire announces its 2019 winners of its Arts Achievement Awards. They are Rose Marie and Bill Burriss, Anita Coulthard, Samantha Gray, Jane Morison, Ted Olson and Eugene Wolf.

Rose Marie and Bill Burriss are long-time advocates and supporters of the arts community. They have dedicated their time, financial resources and their home as a fundraising venue to many arts organization in the region. These organizations include Symphony of the Mountains, William King Museum of Art, Birthplace of Country Music and Rhythm and Roots, Bristol Ballet, Highlands Ballet, the YWCA’s Tribute to Women and Barter Theatre. Many objects from Rose Marie’s collection of religious art were recently in the William King Museum’s exhibits “Connoisseur” and “Touching the Sacred.”

Coulthard was the arts coordinator at Emory & Henry College and booked, marketed, budgeted for and administrated the visual and performing arts events at the college. She has served as college organist, choir director, as well as professor of church music and elementary music methods. She served for several years as the Performing Arts chair of the Virginia Highlands Festival She was on the A! Magazine Committee and secretary of the Arts Alliance Mountain Empire Board for many years.

Gray is credited with re-energizing Theatre Bristol and reviving Cathy DeCaterina’s dream of live theater, even writing a book, “Directing Confidence: Cathy DeCaterina’s Theatre Bristol.” She has been the executive director and chair of the board at Theatre Bristol. She frequently produces their plays, as well as working on marketing, fundraising, development, choosing productions and financial management. She works nonstop to ensure that children and the community have a place to express themselves via drama.

Morison is the artistic director of the Mountain Empire Children’s Choral Academy. Under her leadership, the organization has grown to include a Children’s Choir and a Chorister Choir in Emory, Virginia, as well as a junior high choir for mixed voices in Johnson City. She has conducted twice at Carnegie Hall, directed MECCA choirs at American Choral Directors Association regional and state conferences and directed at the Festival of the Aegean in Greece. She is on the faculty at Emory & Henry College, King University and the Virginia Suzuki Institute.

Olson is a folklorist, historian, journalist, music producer, professor and a poet. He has received numerous Grammy nominations and a Fulbright Award. He compiled the first book and documentary recording telling the story of the Bristol Sessions. He is also responsible for boxed sets dedicated to the Johnson City Sessions and the early recordings of Tennessee Ernie Ford. In addition to teaching at East Tennessee State University, he directs the Charles K. Wolfe music series for the University of Tennessee Press.

Wolf is an actor, director, singer, musician and storyteller. He spent 16 years with The Road Company in Johnson City and has sustained a 30-year collaboration with Ed Snodderly as The Brother Boys. He has been a part of Barter Theatre’s acting company for more than a decade. His role as A. P. Carter in “Keep on the Sunny Side” led to him being named an honorary Carter Family member. Recently he created a one-man tribute to his grandmother, “The Book of Mamaw.”

A Gala awards ceremony is held Saturday, May 18 at the Holiday Inn in Bristol, Virginia, to honor the winners. The gala consists of a cocktail hour, dinner, music, a silent auction and the awards ceremony. Tickets are $100 for individuals, and tables for eight can be purchased for $800.

For tickets, visit www.aamearts.org/gala or send a check to AAME Gala, Box 94, Bristol, TN 37621. For more information about the event, call 423-652-7462. RSVP by May 10.

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, and it has published an arts directory and sponsors a lecture series and workshops on arts-related topics.

These awards come from these categories: Artist — achievement in theater, music, dance, visual arts or literary arts; Arts Educator — achievement in arts education in a college or university, primary or secondary school; Arts Administrators — achievement in the management of arts institutions; and Arts Advocates — achievement in sustaining the arts through volunteering or financial support.