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Center of Excellence in Creative Arts director to receive award

February 11, 2003

Dr. George L. Mabry, professor of music and director of the Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts, will receive a Tennessee Arts Commissions 2003 Art Leadership Award.

The Governor's Awards in the Arts were established in 1971 to recognize those individuals and organizations who have made significant contributions to the cultural life of Tennessee.

The awards, Tennessee's highest honor in the arts, will be presented during a celebration to be held March 11 at Nashville's historic Ryman Auditorium. The event, which will be open to the public, is being billed as "A Salute to Excellence."

"We are extremely proud of the recipients selected," said Ann C. Smith, chair of the Tennessee Arts Commission. "The 2003 recipients represent the best in the state. These individuals have contributed greatly to the creative, artistic and cultural life of all Tennesseans."

The Commission received 64 nominations from all areas of the state. A special Commission panel reviewed the nominations. Recipients were selected to receive awards in The Folklife Heritage, Distinguished Artist and Arts Leadership categories.

Mabry will be among good company as he receives the award. Among the recipients will be singer, songwriter and actress Dolly Parton, who was singled out to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Parton, known the world over, is considered a Tennessee treasure. "Although the flamboyant, fun-loving diva holds her own with the likes of David Letterman, she hasn't forgotten her roots. She has contributed much to her hometown located in Sevier County, Tennessee," said former State Senator Carl Moore of Bristol, who nominated Parton for the award. In 1995 Parton started the Imagination Library Program as a way of giving something back to her community.

Parton has received seven Grammy's, nine Country Music Association (CMA) Awards, and is a member of the Songwriter's Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry.

Receiving Distinguished Artist Awards are Roland Carter, a professor of music at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and a nationally recognized composer, conductor, and pianist; Jim Gray of Knoxville, known for his maritime paintings and helping to create the artists' community in Gatlinburg; and sculptor Luther Hampton of Memphis, who has served as a major creative influence and is credited with opening the door for many African American artists.

Receiving the Folklife Heritage Awards are Howard Armstrong, a renowned fiddler, mandolinist, painter and writer who was born in Dayton, Tenn., and spent his formative years in LaFollette; Ralph Blizard, a legendary old-time fiddler and 2003 National Heritage Fellowship recipient from Blountville; Clara Fodor of Linden, who immigrated to the United States in 1938 from her native Hungary and is known for the intricate and detailed embroidered wall hangings celebrating her patriotism and love of her adopted country; and Musician Roy Harper of Manchester, who has spent his musical career preserving the songs and musical traditions of pre-World War II country music.

Three individuals, including Mabry, and three organizations will receive Arts Leadership Awards. Individuals receiving the award include Bob Cannon of Memphis, a community leader and arts supporter who recently, along with his family, announced a $5 million gift to the Greater Memphis Arts Council; H. Grant Law, of Lookout Mountain, served as a volunteer, providing generous financial support to many arts organizations in the Chattanooga area.

Organizations receiving Arts Leadership Awards include the Metro Nashville Arts Commission, recognized for outstanding work in bringing financial stability to local arts organizations, fostering quality, proliferation and diversity of the arts, assisting in the development of individual artists, increasing the value placed on the arts in both the public and private sectors of the local economy, and implementing ways of bringing the arts into the mainstream of life in Middle Tennessee.

The Southeast Center for Education in the Arts at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is recognized for leading the region in preparing teachers for utilizing the arts in every day lessons. The Center's purpose is to integrate the arts (visual art, music, theatre, and dance) as part of the core curriculum so that children learn and develop a connection to their various cultural heritages.

In addition to the other organizations receiving the award is "A! Magazine for the Arts & Antiques," a monthly 16-page publication inserted into "The Bristol Herald Courier" that promotes the arts and features personalities in the arts.