Guitar artist, musician and luthier William Eaton of Sedona, Tucson arts advocate I. Michael Kasser and Arizona State University strings professor Dr. Margaret Schmidt captured the top individual awards at the 2015 Governor’s Arts Awards at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel.
More than 600 arts supporters, artists, advocates and business leaders were on hand for the presentation of awards and remarks by Arizona Governor Doug Ducey. The event was emceed by CBS5 anchor Nicole Crites.
Sixty-five nominations were submitted from 22 Arizona communities in six categories for this year’s awards. SRP was the Presenting Sponsor; APS, the Nominees Sponsor; Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, the Entertainment Sponsor; and the Arizona Lottery was the Artist Award Sponsor.
The 2015 Governor’s Arts Awards were presented to:
- William Eaton, Artist Award
- I. Michael Kasser, Individual Award
- Dr. Margaret Schmidt, Arizona State University, Arts In Education Individual Award
- Phoenix Conservatory of Music, Arts in Education Organization Award
- West Valley Arts Council’s Gallery 37, Community Award
- CopperPoint Mutual, Business Award.
Also during the evening, the tenth annual Shelley Award was presented to the Papp Family for their individual and collective support of the arts as advocates and donors. The Papp Family is represented by family patriarch the late L. Roy Papp and his wife, Marilyn A. Papp; their son, Harry A. Papp, and his wife, Rosellen Papp. The Papp family’s devotion to arts and culture endeavors also is shared by Marilyn and Roy’s daughter, Victoria Papp Cavallero and her husband, Patrick F. Cavallero.
Each honoree received specially created awards by Arizona artists Alexandra Bowers, Randy Kemp, Jacob Meders, Gabriela Muñoz, Rossitza Todorova, Kathleen Velo and Claire A. Warden.
The 2015 Governor’s Arts Awards honorees:
Artist Award: William Eaton (Sedona): Building guitars and beyond since 1971, William Eaton’s imaginative, sculptural multi-stringed instruments are showcased at major museums, art galleries and in books, magazines and publications. During the past 40 years the Roberto Venn School of Luthiery, a guitar making school he co-founded in Phoenix, has graduated over 2000 students, from Arizona, the U.S. and every other continent, except Antarctica. As Director of the School, William has influenced hundreds of luthiers who have become artist-entrepreneurs, employees, managers, foreman and repair techs – for major guitar manufacturers, small custom shops, touring companies and music stores – worldwide. Eaton has composed for and performed solo, with the William Eaton Ensemble, Nouveau West Chamber Orchestra, Nebraska Chamber Orchestra, Amadeus Trio, and R. Carlos Nakai, among others.
Individual Award: I. Michael Kasser (Tucson): Michael Kasser and his wife, Beth, have been ardent and generous supporters of the arts in Southern Arizona for many years. His passion extends to Arizona Theatre Company, Tucson Museum of Art and other arts and cultural programs working to enrich the lives of those within his community. Specifically, through his business acumen and generous donations, Mike has ensured the survival and growth of a number of arts organizations in Southern Arizona. He strongly believes that the arts attract businesses to Southern Arizona and has encouraged many of his fellow business leaders to communicate their support for the Pima County Bond election to the Pima County Bond Committee, which would include a number of arts and cultural-related projects. He is active in the revitalization of downtown Tucson and is vocal in his belief that arts and culture are vital to this revitalization.
Arts In Education Individual Award: Dr. Margaret E. Schmidt (Tempe): Dr. Margaret Schmidt’s extraordinary contributions to arts education in string music education occur in nearly every imaginable facet, from the earliest years of education to the high-level work of research and publication. As a string specialist at Arizona State University and a vibrant member of the Arizona string education community, since 2001, every undergraduate student at ASU who wants to teach strings has been prepared for his or her career by Dr. Schmidt, whether through course work with her and/or through internships in the ASU String Project. She also has collaborated with K-12 string music teachers throughout the state in developing their own programs and has conducted string festival orchestras for children statewide.
Arts in Education Organization Award: Phoenix Conservatory of Music (Phoenix): The Phoenix Conservatory of Music is bringing best practices and national practices to our local community through their affiliation with the Berklee City Music Network and Berklee College of Music. By implementing its unique college preparatory program, Phoenix Conservatory of Music is creating a pipeline of popular music learning and critical skill sets in musical and developmental assets in youth grades 4-12. The Phoenix Conservatory offers innovative and engaging programs for teens that develop their musical skill sets, life skills and developmental assets. PCM’s City Music college prep program allows students who don’t have as much access to music education or access to contemporary music education. In 2014, 99 students were in the program, including 12 seniors who all graduated high school and earned over $445,000 in scholarships.
Community Award: West Valley Arts Council’s Gallery 37 Programs (Surprise): Since 2001, the West Valley Arts Council’s signature Gallery 37 (G37) summer public art program has employed over 200 teens from the West Valley and beyond to create works of public art under the guidance of local master artists. Fourteen works of art include murals, sculptures, ramadas, seating and shade structures and are located throughout Avondale, Buckeye, El Mirage, Goodyear, Surprise and Tolleson. For several of these West Valley cities, Gallery 37 was their first step into the world of public art. Over time as these cities grow, they often reengage and integrate G37 projects into the planning and development process.
Business Award: CopperPoint Mutual (Phoenix): CopperPoint Mutual has been committed to helping both the arts and community groups in many ways throughout its history. The company invests in the arts statewide, extending from Phoenix and surrounding cities to Tucson, Prescott, Flagstaff, Globe, Miami and well beyond. The arts are a particularly integral component to the company’s commitment to and investment in education in Arizona. CopperPoint also works directly with 25 major arts groups across the state and has invested and assisted in the launch of a wide variety of arts related programs for groups such as Autism Speaks and Arizona Autism United, Arizona Lost Boys Center, and Apache ASL Trails, a senior living center for the hearing impaired with a robust arts program.
The Governor’s Arts Awards are presented by Arizona Citizens for the Arts, the Arizona Commission on the Arts and the Office of the Governor.