"50 for 50 Arts Inspiration Award"
The Virginia Commission for the Arts congratulates our "50 for 50 Arts Inspiration Award" recipients. They were selected from an original pool of over 350 nominees by a panel of former Commissioners and arts leaders and confirmed by the full Board of the Virginia Commission for the Arts. 
For fifty years, the VCA has supported and celebrated the vibrant arts culture that is critical to living, learning, and thriving economically in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The "50 for 50 Arts Inspiration Awards" are designed to recognize programs, individuals, and organizations critical to the arts in Virginia.  
The designated "Arts Inspirations" may have played a critical role in the last 50 years, serve as today's leaders and exemplars, or may be tomorrow's visionaries, leading the way to a bright future. We are indeed fortunate in Virginia to have an abundant and diverse roster of outstanding artists and organizations and their supporters spanning disciplines and decades. The 50 selected winners are representative of the best, but this list is far from definitive. Every day in communities across the Commonwealth, thousands of people benefit from the creative energies and pursuit of excellence that characterize Virginia artists and arts organizations.  
Arts Inspiration Awards were assigned in the following categories:

Bedrock Institutions
Winners have been in existence more than ten years, have demonstrated a benefit to the economic health and or tourism in the community, exhibit artistic excellence, celebrate diversity and showcase Virginia as a cultural destination.
Exemplary Programs and Pinnacle Events
Winners have programs or events from the past 50 years that have demonstrated artistic excellence, celebrated diversity, offered outreach to underserved populations, have engaged community partners and have a visionary or innovative approach to their program or event.
Emerging Artists and Organizations
Winners have been in existence under ten years, have demonstrated a benefit to the economic and or social health of the community, have demonstrated artistic excellence, outreach to underserved populations, embraced diversity, and taken a visionary or innovative approach to their work.
Arts Leaders and Supporters
Winners have demonstrated a serious sustained leadership in the arts that have made a significant contribution to their communities, have encouraged decision makers to create a sustainable environment for artists and arts organizations, have taken an original approach to arts leadership and encouraged the engagement of others, and have championed a broad role for arts organizations and artists to play in their own respective communities.
Outstanding Artists
Winners have demonstrated consistent artistic excellence, a stellar body of work, provided service to their respective communities and beyond, and enhanced the artistic and cultural life of Virginia with their creativity.
The Process
Following a statewide call for nominations, nominees for the awards in all categories were accepted for two months this spring. A panel comprised of former Commissioners and arts leaders reviewed the nominations this past summer and recommended a slate to the full Board which adopted the roster this fall. To ensure impartiality, no former commissioners and no state-elected officials were selected for the roster.
Award recipients will be honored with other state arts leaders and supporters at a special reception this fall for a Celebration of the Arts at the Executive Mansion with Governor Terry McAuliffe and First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe.
On Wednesday, January 31, 2018 from 1-5 p.m. the Commission will hold a 50th Anniversary Program for arts organizations across the state at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. That afternoon, the 50 for 50 Arts Inspiration award recipients will be officially recognized for their achievements. A reception will follow in the Marble Hall.  
"50 for 50 Arts Inspiration Awards"

The Virginia Cultural Icon Award:  The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
The Virginia Cultural Legacy Award:  Peggy Baggett, Executive Director of the Virginia Commission for the Arts for 35 years.
Bedrock Institutions ( listed in no particular order)
1. Carter Family Fold
2. Barter Theatre
3. Wolf Trap
4. Virginia Opera
5. Virginia Repertory
6. Bristol Ballet
7. Cultural Alliance of Greater Hampton Roads
8. Signature Theatre
9.   American Shakespeare Center
10. Virginia Arts Festival
11. Garth Newel
12. Blue Ridge Institute
13. Piedmont Arts Association
14. Richmond Ballet
15. Visual Arts Center of Richmond
16. Rappahannock Foundation for the Arts
17. Greater Reston Arts Center- GRACE
Exemplary Programs and Pinnacle Events ( listed in no particular order)
1. SPARC, "Live Art"
2. 1708 Gallery, "InLight Richmond"
3. Richmond Symphony, "Big Tent Project"
4. Birthplace of Country Music, "Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion"
5. Experimental Film Virginia
6. Virginia Stage, "Black Light Puppet Theatre"
7. Shenandoah Valley Music Festival
8. Nikki Giovanni, "We Are Virginia Tech"
Arts Leaders and Supporters ( listed in no particular order)
1. Theresa Pollak, (Posthumous)  
2. Lynette Allston
3. Hon. Marian Van Landingham
4. Mary Beth Rainero
5. Dr. Andrea Warren
6. Terry Bliss Showalter
7. Nick and Jenny Taubman & Heywood and Cynthia Fralin
8. Congressman Gerry Connolly
Emerging Artists and Organizations ( listed in no particular order)
1. Adam Turner
2. Arts on the Horizon
3. The Origin Project
4. A Place to Be
5. Wayne C. Henderson School of Appalachian Arts
6. Studio Two Three
7. Chestnut Creek School of the Arts
Outstanding Artist ( listed in no particular order) 
1. Keith Lee, Dance
2. David Robbins, Literary Arts
3. P. Buckley Moss, Visual Arts
4. Ralph Stanley, Music (Posthumous)
5. Carlton Abbott, Visual Arts
6. J. Plunky Branch, Music
7. Diego Sanchez, Visual Arts
8. Rita Dove, Literary Arts
9. Sally Mann, Visual Arts
10. JoAnn Falletta, Music

Margaret G. Vanderhye
Executive Director
Virginia Commission for the Arts
300 Main Street Centre, Suite 330
Richmond, Virginia 23219