Congratulations to the 2016 Honorees

And thank you for all that you do to support, inspire and cultivate arts and culture in Arizona!

Artist Award | Annie Lopez (Phoenix)

Phoenix native Annie Lopez is influenced by family and personal experiences. Since 1983, she has exhibited her work nationally, including: “Paper!” at the Phoenix Art Museum; “ American Voices” at the Smithsonian Institution; “The Show” at the Museum of Fine Arts in Santa Fe and “In Celebration: A Century of Arizona Women Artists” which traveled through out Arizona. She has been given solo exhibits at the Phoenix Art Museum, University of Arizona, Arizona State University and MARS Artspace. She has served on the board of Artlink, the Phoenix Arts and Culture Commission and, for 17 years, was an artist member with MARS (Movimiento Artistico del Rio Salado).

Individual Award | Susan Gamble (Tucson)

Susan Gamble has provided more than 35 years of tireless devotion to the arts in Arizona. A mosaic artist whose career began with a public art commission for the Tucson International Airport in 1987, her love of art and commitment to education have prompted her to form, lead and participate in many community service groups.  She started as a docent at Tucson Museum of Art and was a member of the inaugural board of the former Tucson Arts District Partnership, Inc.; a founding board member of the Downtown Tucson Partnership; and past president of the Warehouse Arts Management Organization. She was recently appointed to the Tucson Pima Arts Council.

Individual in Arts Education | Joseph Maniglia (Flagstaff)

Joseph Maniglia caught the acting bug at an early age, organizing family children in a talent show or performance during holidays and family gatherings.  After moving from Chicago to Flagstaff, he founded Theatrikos Theatre Company for which he still serves as Education Director along with responsibilities as adjunct instructor at Coconino Community College and as a relief Chaplain at Flagstaff Medical Center.  Not afraid to break new ground, he challenges students with not only performing the classics, but understanding their impact by putting them into modern settings that address contemporary social issues.

Organization in Arts Education |Release the Fear (Phoenix)

Release the Fear art space displays artwork created by disadvantaged and troubled youth participating in Robert Miley’s  workshops. At the end of each 3-day workshop, 15-20 kids together design and paint one 30x30 canvas drawing from their program experience. This healing experience for the group also serves as a community awareness campaign sharing a message of decreased violence of all types. These group masterpieces are a metaphor for what we can create as a community and express accentuating rather than desecrating. Miley holds various events at this space during the year.

Community | Museum of Northern Arizona (Flagstaff)

Founded in 1928, the Museum of Nothern Arizona (MNA) is one of the nation’s most significant regional museums and winner of the 2015 Natonal Medal for Museum and Library Science.  The founders’ vision was to create a research, collections and education center for advancing the arts and natural sciences of the Colorado River Plateau region in a forward-thinking world class museum.  Each year, nearly 45,000 people visit the 9 exhibit galleries and participate in vibrant programs. MNA is the primary location for collections from the Colorado Plateau with more than 250,000 artifacts.

Large Business | Arizona Public Service (APS)

Founded 5 years after Tombstone’s gunfight at the OK Corral and nearly a quarter century before Arizona became a state, Arizona Public Service (APS) is the state’s largest and longest-serving electric company with more than 1.2 million retail and residential customers in 11 counties.  In addition to generating safe, affordable and reliable electricity, in 2015, through its shareholders, APS donated $9.8 million to Arizona charitable programs, including nearly $900,000 to arts and cultural organizations. Included among the recipients are the Herberger Theater, Phoenix Symphony, ASU Gammage, music festivals in Flagstaff and Prescott, Phoenix Art Museum and the Celebration of Art at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Small Business | Canyon Records (Phoenix)

Canyon Records is one of the oldest independent record labels in the music industry and one of Arizona’s longest-serving cultural institutions.  Founded in 1951 by Ray and Mary Boley, most early recordings were sold to the Native American community.  In 1984, Ray initiated a new era in Native American music by signing R. Carlos Nakai to the label.  Robert Doyle bought the company in 1992 and has expanded its roster to more than 250 artists performing traditional contemporary and new music styles.  Canyon Records has earned the only two Gold Records for Native American music, a Grammy Award, 32 Grammy nominations, 4 Indie Awards and 33 Native American Music Awards.

And the Shelley Award goes to...

We are proud to announce that Childsplay founder David Saar, who has developed a national and international reputation for transforming the world of theatre for young audiences, received the 2016 Shelley Award at the 35th annual Governor’s Arts Awards.

The award, named in honor of former Arizona Commission on the Arts Executive Director Shelley Cohn, is presented annually to an individual who has advanced the arts through strategic and innovative work in creating or supporting public policy beneficial to the arts in Arizona.

Saar, who will retire from Childsplay this year, founded the professional theater company for children in 1977 and has been artistic director ever since. Its genesis began during Saar’s MFA studies when he realized that children could reap great benefits from experiences with professional theatre. After graduating, he gathered classmates in a 1967 Chevy Impala, and with basic sets and costumes, began performing in local classrooms.

Today, performing in schools remains a core Childsplay activity with three annual touring productions that visit hundreds of schools throughout Arizona. It is estimated that one in five Arizona K-6 students will see a Childsplay production at their school. More than half of this audience lives at or below the poverty level.

Among Saar’s most important and well-known work is The Yellow Boat, a dramatization of the life of Saar's son, Benjamin, who was born with congenital hemophilia and died at age 8 in 1987 of AIDS-related complications. Hailed as the most important children’s play of the 90s by Time Magazine, it has been performed all over the world and transformed the way we look at theatre for our young audiences.

David Saar’s name has become synonymous with the belief that children deserve to experience the highest quality of performing arts. And while it may be hard to capture the full magnitude of his influence, not only on children and adults in Arizona, but across the country, we can be assured that his work has helped shaped thousands of lives and has created life-long lovers of theater. That is an incredible legacy.

David joins previous Shelley honorees Shelley Cohn, Kathryn “Sam” Campana, Dennis Kavanagh, Gerry Murphy, Shirley Chann, Carolyn Allen, Bill Sheppard, Darryl Dobras. Jim Ballinger and John, Helen Schaefer and the Papp Family.