The Shelley Award, named after former Arizona Commission on the Arts Executive Director Shelley Cohn, is presented annually to recognize individuals who have advanced Arizona arts and culture through strategic and innovative leadership to create and support public policy beneficial to the arts in Arizona. This year as we mark the 50th anniversary of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Arizona Commission on the Arts, the Shelley Award will recognize a group of individuals – Pioneers of Advocacy – whose dedicated work on behalf of arts and culture during the formative years of arts advocacy in Arizona helped create the vibrant arts and culture environment we enjoy today. 

The individuals being recognized truly are “pioneers” of advocacy, each in their own way.  They were leaders in the corporate community, establishing a tradition of corporate support for the arts. They help create institutions like the Arizona Commission on the Arts that serve the arts in every corner of our state. And they provided the leadership for the development of major cultural institutions in Phoenix and Tucson – examples to communities all over Arizona. In so many ways, they are role models for today’s leaders and examples of how dedicated community stewards support arts and culture.

 

Dino DeConcini and Beth Murfee DeConcini, Tucson
Arts, philanthropy and advocacy leaders

Katie Dusenberry, Tucson | Corporate philanthropy and arts leader

Shirley Estes, Tucson
Corporate philanthropy and arts leader

Terry Goddard, Phoenix
Former Mayor of Phoenix

Myra Millinger,Phoenix
Foundation leader and arts advocate

Gene Polk, Prescott
Foundation leader and arts advocate

Kim Sterling-Heflin, Phoenix
Corporate philanthropy and arts leader

Richard and Linda Whitney, Phoenix
Arts, philanthropy and advocacy leaders

We want to acknowledge ALL of the 2017 nominees, who are wonderful individuals and organizations that do so much for arts and culture in Arizona and deserve to be recognized for their talent, innovation and immense efforts. 

On February 20, 2017, nominees, sponsors and guests gathered at Phoenix Theatre to celebrate this year’s nominees and announce three finalists in each category as well as the inaugural Philanthropy Honoree. The celebration consisted of a cocktail hour, live entertainment and a semi-formal program in the Hormel Theatre.

Check out the gallery to see the festivities

Artist Award

This award recognizes an Arizona artist of significant merit, leadership or reputation whose creations or contributions enrich the state and the field of the arts. This category is open to artists of all artistic disciplines.

Liliana Gomez, Phoenix

Katherine Josten, Tucson

Dennis Rowland, Phoenix

 

Arts in Education | Individual

This award recognizes, educators, teaching artists, school administrators or school volunteers that have demonstrated significant support or participation in activities which foster excellence in, appreciation of, or access to arts education in the State of Arizona.

David Andres, Tucson

Dr. Mary Erickson, Tempe

Dennis Ott, Sedona

 

Arts in Education | Organization

This award recognizes a nonprofit arts organization or a school that has demonstrated significant support for or participation in activities fostering excellence in, appreciation of, or access to arts education in the State of Arizona.

Children’s Museum of Phoenix, Phoenix

Osborn School District, Phoenix

University of Arizona Museum of Art, Tucson

 

Business | Small

This award recognizes small, private businesses (1-99 employees), that have demonstrated significant support locally or statewide, through a contribution of time, energy, personnel, expertise and/or financial support or by participation in activities which foster excellence in, appreciation of, or access to the arts.

Arizona Copper Art Museum, Clarkdale

Galiano’s Cafe, Douglas

Partridge and Associates CPA’s, Scottsdale

 

Business | Large

This award recognizes large, private businesses (100+ employees), that have demonstrated significant support locally or statewide, through a contribution of time, energy, personnel, expertise and/or financial support or by participation in activities which foster excellence in, appreciation of, or access to the arts.

Alliance Bank of Arizona, Phoenix

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Phoenix

Casino Del Sol Resort, Tucson

 

Community

This award recognizes an organization that has demonstrated significant support or participation in activities which foster excellence in, appreciation of, or access to arts in the State of Arizona.

Del E. Webb Center for the Performing Arts, Wickenburg

Mesa Arts Center, Mesa

Phoenix Center for the Arts, Phoenix

 

Individual

This award recognizes an individual for significant contributions to the arts in Arizona in the areas of arts leadership and personal commitment of time and talent.

Lin Ling Lee, Phoenix

Hope H. Ozer, Paradise Valley

Dr. Ruth Tan Lim, Mesa

Philanthropy

This award recognizes extraordinary philanthropic leadership through the contribution of financial resources to non-profit arts and culture organizations, and by encouraging the philanthropic support of others.

Mary Way, Paradise Valley