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February 14, 2007


NASHVILLE - - Seven recipients have been selected to receive the 2007 Governor’s Awards in the Arts. Established in 1971 to celebrate significant contributions to the cultural life of Tennessee, the awards will be presented by Governor Phil Bredesen in a ceremony produced by the Tennessee Arts Commission.

“The 2007 recipients represent the very best from the state’s arts community,” says Rich Boyd, executive director of the Commission. “The awards recognize the highest excellence and the public value of the arts in Tennessee.”

Recipients were selected from 69 nominees to receive awards in the Folklife Heritage, DistinguishedArtist, and Arts Leadership categories.

The Folklife Heritage Award recognizes folk artists or organizations who have made outstanding contributions to artistic tradition. The award is intended to honor long-term achievements within art forms that are rooted in the traditional culture of Tennessee.

Receiving Folklife Heritage Awards are Clyde Davenport of Jamestown, a traditional Appalachian fiddler considered to be the last tradition bearer of Appalachia’s most distinctive fiddle style; and the Fisk Jubilee Singers, the first internationally acclaimed group of African-American musicians who introduced slave songs to the world, and presented them as a choral art form preserving them from extinction.

Arts Leadership Awards will be presented to the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville, the Town of Huntingdon, and Bill Ivey of Nashville. This award recognizes organizations, businesses, educators, patrons, arts administrators, corporations and volunteers who have demonstrated significant support or participation in activities which foster excellence in, appreciation of, or access to the arts throughout the state.

The Schermerhorn Symphony Center opened in September of 2006 in downtown Nashville and the world-class facility marked the beginning of a new era for arts and culture in Tennessee. Named in honor of the late Symphony Music Director Kenneth Schermerhorn, the concert hall represents the dedication and leadership of the Nashville Symphony Association and the generosity of the patrons who make the building a reality.

The Town of Huntingdon is being recognized for their leadership in the building of the Dixie Carter Performing Arts Center. The Center, affectionately called “The Dixie,” is named after actress and local citizen, Dixie Carter. The Center was developed by the Town of Huntingdon to be an accessible arts venue serving a rural community where excellence would become a standard. It has sparked downtown renewal efforts around a charming town square.

An Arts Leadership Award will also be presented to Bill Ivey. Ivey, former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, stands as one of America’s most dedicated cultural leaders and citizens. He has devoted his life to understanding, sharing, and shaping the way in which Americans engage with arts and culture.

The Distinguished Artist Award recognizes artists of exceptional talent and creativity in any discipline, who over the course of a career, have contributed to the arts and have helped guide and influence directions, trends, and aesthetic practices on a state or national level.

Two outstanding Tennessee visual artists have been named as recipients of the Distinguished Artist Award. They are: Olen Bryant of Cottontown, a well-known sculptor and educator who has received national recognition in the area of fine art; and Richard Jolley of Knoxville, a world-class glass sculptor who is continuously discovering ways to challenge his creative abilities in many visual mediums.

The recipients will be honored at an invitation-only reception on Tuesday, March 13 at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in downtown Nashville. The awards will be presented by Governor Phil Bredesen during a special ceremony that evening. AT&T is the corporate sponsor for the event.

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