Bristol Ballet Selected From Over 350 State-Wide Nominees as a "50 for 50 Arts Inspiration" by the Virginia Commission for the Arts

January 30, 2018

From an original pool of over 350 nominees, the Virginia Commission for the Arts, the state arts agency, has selected Bristol Ballet to receive one of its prestigious “50 for 50 Arts Inspiration Awards” in the category of Bedrock Institution!

The “50 for 50 Arts Inspiration Awards” were conceived and designed by the Commission as a 50th anniversary tribute to 50 examples of 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 culturally vibrant future. The Commission was established by law in 1968 to promote awareness of and access to the arts across the state and to support a broad range of artists, arts organizations, and arts educators.

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 final roster this fall. To ensure impartiality, no former commissioners and no state-elected officials were selected for the roster.

“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”, said Margaret Vanderhye, the Commission’s executive director. “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”, she concluded.

VCA Commissioner and 50th Anniversary Co-Chair Jo Hodgin (Annandale) stated: “These awardees carry the banner for countless arts workers and supporters who use the arts to build a strong Virginia”. “We believe the arts are essential for a creative 21st century workforce, economically dynamic communities, and a culture based on wellness and accessibility,” she added.

“We are so honored to be recognized as a 50 for 50 Arts Inspiration Awards winner in the category of Bedrock Institution,” stated Bristol Ballet Board President, Cary Cooper. “This is especially exciting since Bristol Ballet is currently celebrating our 70th Anniversary Season.”

Award recipients were 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 1:00-5:00 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, including Bristol Ballet, will be officially recognized and for their achievements. A reception will follow in the Marble Hall.

Commission Chair Shelley Kruger Weisberg (Williamsburg) commented: “The entire Commission applauds the 50 for 50 Arts Inspiration Award recipients whose work is representative of the transformative power of the arts in our Commonwealth”. She added, “The impressive array of arts leaders, arts organizations, pinnacle events and artists are a testament to the extraordinary diversity and vitality of the arts in every corner of the state”.

Each of the five nomination categories represents a different element of the arts in time and focus. For the Bedrock Institution category awarded to Bristol Ballet, the criteria stated that the organization must 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.