Nominees Announced for the 2014 VAHA Awards

Nominees Announced for the 2014 VAHA Awards

 We are honored to celebrate the following individuals and organizations at the 2014 Voice of the Arts & Humanities Awards. Tickets for the event are available online or at a number of local ticket outlets. Full ticket information

And the nominees are:

Cultural Organization Award
Recognizing distinguished creative accomplishments which significantly and consistently influence the cultural life of Central Virginia

  • Wolfbane Productions

Wolfbane’s team of artists dedicates itself to bringing new and innovative theatrical events to broad audiences. Their goal is to produce thought-provoking, powerful, and transformational work, while striving to offer an approachable and unrestricted live entertainment experience.

  • International DJ Festival

This festival, held on June 1st, 2013, featured top performing DJs from France and the Island of Haiti at Riverfront Festival Park for a culturally diverse music

  • Endstation Theatre Company

This nationally recognized theater company is revered for its high quality performances, it’s innovative and relevant productions that feature some of the country’s most talented young performers, and it’s unique internship program that bring aspiring theatre professionals to Central VA for an unmatched summer of quality education and unparalleled experiences.

  • Second Stage | Amherst

This effort began with a small gathering of determined individuals to bring art, culture and a sense of community to Amherst while saving a beautiful cornerstone of the Amherst community. Their season was a mix of performances, entertainment and a weekly Farmers’ market that enlisted volunteers, performers and raised over $20,000 for local vendors.

Arts Volunteer Award

Recognizing individuals whose efforts have had invaluable influence on the growth or development of an organization, activity, or program or who have been a motivating spirit for the Arts in the community

  • Jack Edma

For the past 2 years, Jack Edma has volunteered as a DJ for Friday Cheers, downtown resident block parties, First Fridays, and various other events in Lynchburg. Jack brings many ideas and insights about how to promote and market the Arts and Culture District, and was the creator of The International DJ Festival held last June in Riverfront Park.

  • Julie Austin-Witcher

Julie is on the board for the Little Town Players in Bedford, performs in shows in Bedford and Lynchburg for Renaissance and Wolfbane Productions, and made arts education her cause during her reign as National Mrs Virginia 2013 and National Mrs East Coast 2014.

  • Laren Baum

For over 15 years, Laren Baum as been an active behind-the-scenes theater volunteer in elementary, middle and high school for LCS, Cherry Tree Players, and Endstation Theatre. She has sewn costumes, managed box offices, served as a business manager, board treasurer, board president for Endstation. Laren also played an integral role in the first organized quarterly Lynchburg Arts insert published by the News and Advance.

  • Staff at Fusion Salon

Fusion Salon created a unique way to raise funds for the Daily Bread with “Beauty for Bread.” Stylists recruited artists to transform paddle brushes into works of art. These painted paddle brushes were then auctioned off and 100% of the proceeds were donated to Daily Bread.

Humanities Volunteer Award
Recognizing individuals whose efforts have had invaluable influence on the growth or development of an organization, activity, or program or who have been a motivating spirit for the Arts in the community

  • Gail Pond

As a volunteer of Poplar Forest for 28 years, Gail acts as a tour docent, the librarian and archivist and oversees the historic collection. Gail’s tours offer a top-notch presentation, and her willingness to contribute to programs and events are unparalleled. Gail is an inspiration to the 125 volunteers that serve at Poplar Forest.

  • Kim Soerensen

As the owner of the Omniterrum, Kim founded the American Globe Preservation Society in 2010. As a 501c3 non-profit, the AGPS promotes Globes as a means to better understand our world and space, the preservation of globes of historical significance and value, and the use of globes as scientific instruments. Kim also organized an event in 2014 that brought hundreds to downtown and included speakers from NASA, a globe auction and a reception to highlight AGPS’ role in society.


Arts Education Award
Recognizing an artist, parent, teacher or community volunteer for significant contributions to arts in the schools and furthering arts education

  • Suzanne Clark Pfeiffer, Liberty Christian Academy

Mrs. Pfeiffer teaches graphic design, photography, and yearbook at LCA and balances being both a teacher and friend to her students. Mrs. Pfeiffer is a gifted artist, and encourages her students to pursue all of their ideas without fear of criticism.

  • Dr. Jong Kim, Lynchburg College

Dr. Jong Kim has played a vital role in enriching cultural life of Central VA by establishing the Lynchburg College Choral Union, increasing the opportunity for more area residents to enjoy high quality choral music, bringing outstanding musicians with international acclaim to the area, and establishing a graduate program in choral conducting for area musicians. He serves as Professor of Music and Director of Graduate Studies of choral activities and graduate studies in music at Lynchburg College.

  • Jeff Scruggs, Dunbar Middle School

Mr. Scruggs is the Band Director and Technical Theater Director at Dunbar Middle School for Innovation. Jeff’s nomination came though the school’s PTO, and through several letters from parents- Jeff has been revered for his countless hours of dedication to his students to make each of them the best musician they can be. His dedication to sharing his passion for the arts with his students and his community is shared by both his students and their families.

  • James River Day School Arts

The staff at JRDS Music Department encourage their students to embrace the art of music. The dynamic team of Allison Barns, Leigh Berkley and Paddy Dougherty has doubled the enrollment in the music department, and has helped increase the self-esteem of their students while teaching them to embrace their

  • Michael Twery

Mike is known for his percussion instruments made from unconventional materials such as pvc, steel pipes, wood and metal. Each portable and utilitarian design is a work of art and encourages children and adults to see music in everything you see. His ideas of a playground designed out of these instruments is an amazing project and is sure to be installed locally in the near future.

  • Pat Haley, Camp Kum-Ba-Yah

Under the direction of Pat Haley, this traditional style camp offers children instruction in art, music, nutrition, sports, teamwork and so much more. For more than 50 years, kids have come to this camp to build lasting memories and learn how the art of play can build a healthy, bright future.

  • Wildcat Theatre

Under the direction of Mace Archer, this summer theatre camp is designed for kids using College Freshman to assist in developing theatre, teamwork and life skills. The program provides top level arts instruction to it’s students who have an interest in the art of theatre. This program creates an environment where all students can develop their creativity, teamwork, focus and ability to communicate.www.faculty.randolphcollege/


Corporate Partner
Recognizing a business, corporation or government entity, which, in addition to financial support, encourages employees to participate in cultural activities, and/or establish cultural programs

  • Sleepy Hollow Art & Design

The husband and wife team of Sleepy Hollow Art and Design, create wooden sculptures sculpted by chainsaw. As one of the few chainsaw artists in the nation, Mark Poleski has created a vast array of sculptures from tree trunks- varying from bears, birds and fish, to totems. He has performed at various festivals in the area, and has his work at several shops in Nelson County, all while his wife, Dana Poleski, manages his website where they create custom

  • Lynchburg Office of Economic Development

The Lynchburg Office of Economic Development, fueled by City Council, recognizes that a vibrant arts community is good business.City Council’s vision in establishing the Arts & Cultural District and subsequent Grant Program brought forth and now administered by the Office of Economic Development, has been a driving force in assisting private and non-profit entities in the creation of events and initiatives that have directly influenced the arts in our community. Such initiatives, like the Random Acts of Culture, are great examples of promotion of the arts in businesses in our community.

  • Dave and Melanie Ellis, Dish and Mangia Restaurants

As proprietors of Dish, Mangia and Ellis Acres, Dave and Melanie Ellis work as a husband and wife duo to serve up good food with home-grown flavors, southern hospitality and an international flair. They act as a central force in providing practical support and creative space for the cutting edge of a remarkable range of talent. Their restaurants provide gallery space for local artists, and indoor and outdoor venues that schedule performances of musicians and spoken word artists. Their Ellis Acres Festivals provide a grander venue encompassing a broader range of cultural services.

Promotion of the Arts & Humanities

Recognizing outstanding coverage by the media or promotional campaigns by groups and organizations that raise the visibility for the cultural community

  • Mike McKendree, Lynchburg Radio Group

The 93.7KHF Morning Show, created three years ago by founding member Mike Mckendree, and now under the umbrella of Lynchburg Radio Group- was an innovative radio show based here in downtown Lynchburg that has highlighted local artists, events, non-profits and small businesses. The  Morning Show brought a platform that allowed Lynchburg to experience the pulse of Central VA’s burgeoning art scene through music, interviews and local performances. Involved in various downtown events and an avid supporter and contributor to Lynchburg talent, The Morning Show represents the best in promotion in our area.

  • Tim Saunders, WDBJ-7

As the local Lynchburg Bureau Chief for WDBJ-7, Tim Saunders loves the broad geographic area that he covers. Tim celebrates arts and culture in our area through his attention to detail, his keen ear, and his ability to absolutely everywhere at once. The Lynchburg community is sure to be enriched by the consistent and accurate coverage brought to us by Tim Saunders.

  • Noreen Turyn and Pattie Martin, WSET-TV

As Anchors, Noreen Turyn and Pattie Martin have worked to cover the arts in Central VA by using a variety of sources to stay alert and attentive to everything happening in the arts world. Noreen has served as board chair for The Ellington Fellowship to promote and educate our community about the blues, jazz, pop and folk scene. Anchor Pattie has worked hard to schedule in-studio performances, and provide contact information for all upcoming events in the Lynchburg area. Both professionals with the support of WSET enable the arts scene in Lynchburg and surrounding areas to be well presented to our community.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Recognizing an individual whose signal contributions to the cultural community stand out about all others and bring distinction to Central Virginia

  • Faye Burnett

Faye Burnett , who passed away on February 15, 2014, was a gentle artist of great influence in the Lynchburg artist community for decades. Faye’s artistic media included watercolor, paper, canvas, shells, gourds, and driftwood. A native Lynchburger, Faye took her first art lesson at age 9, but always said her passion for creating was ignited at E.C. Glass H.S. thanks to her art instructor Margaret Helbig. After high school, she continued to study art through extension courses and worked as a traveling art teacher in Amherst. She also continued her classes through the Lynchburg Art Club. Early in her career she concentrated on portraiture with live subjects, but later turned to abstract work. Abounding in creativity and enthusiasm, Faye was a beloved teacher to many aspiring artists in Central Virginia. Prior to her retirement, she worked as a graphic artist for General Electric, Frank Wright Studios, and Babcock & Wilcox. Over her career, she was honored to present her paintings and other creative works at many local and regional art shows. The artistic landscape of Central Virginia was made brighter, more colorful, and more attuned to the beauty around us because of one very caring, creative individual – Faye Burnett.

  • Tom Burford

The quintessential philosopher ~farmer, Tom Burford has dedicated his lifework to honouring and advancing the rich sociological and ecological history of apples, orchards and cidermaking, as both an art-form and cultural legacy. He is known to many as Professor Apple. A storyteller at heart, he is also an accomplished writer, historian, humanitarian, preservationist and activist for sustainable agricultural practices; his unique voice is anchored by deep roots both artistically and literally in our local soil. His voice integrates humanities at its best; showcasing a synergy of creative life-arts celebrating the relationships of history, ecology and the people who are key to manifesting a sustainable community of culture and practice. His consistent work over many decades has brought him both local and international acclaim. He is author & co-author of books archiving the historical and ecological importance of apples. He has also written manuals on grafting, orchard design and fruit-tree culture. He has a particular passion for vintage Virginia apples and an ongoing mission to discover and protect “lost” fruit varieties world-wide. He has applied the practical art of his many years of expertise to the benefit of the broader cultural community through his persistent work as an orchard and nursery consultant specializing in restoration, re-creation, and design at historic sites and private estates. Perhaps more importantly, Burford, a native Virginian, presents workshops and seminars locally and nationally in support of his lifework. A lifelong advocate of sustainable agriculture and the slow food movement, he is quick to offer encouragement, training and mentoring to individuals and organizations with related cultural interests. In disposition he displays a remarkable breadth of knowledge and experience tempered by professional and personal generosity, as well as, a keen sense of humor. His voice, as manifested by his presence and work in the cultural community of Virginia, personifies the spirit of the arts and humanities; origins deeply-rooted and locally anchored with broadening spheres of national and international impact. Lynchburg’s arts, cultural and humanities community is remarkably fortunate to have him as a native son and honored elder.

Jake Moore