Monday, March 5, 2012

Viola Awards: A Peak Experience

Nominee Jason Hasenbank and Mayor Sara Presler are no strangers to euphoria.

Peak experiences are described by Abraham Maslow as especially joyous and exciting moments in life, involving sudden feelings of intense happiness and well-being, wonder and awe, and possibly also involving an awareness of transcendental unity or knowledge of higher truth.  They usually come on suddenly and are often inspired by...intense feelings of love, or the exposure to great art or music.. 

  Saturday night was the 4th Annual Viola Awards. 

  It was a pretty big deal.  There were about 500 people there.  (let me repeat:  almost FIVE HUNDRED people in Flagstaff bought tickets that cost $50 and up to attend an event that honors our local artists, musicians, scientists, and cultural leaders.)  There were 65 nominees for 11 categories.  (Congratulations to ALL of you!)  Over 68 silent auction items were donated and over six thousand dollars were raised to help support the Coconino Center for the Arts.


 This year was also notable because the sciences were included in the awards ceremony.  The Flagstaff Festival of Science was the deserving winner of the Outstanding Event Award, and is a great example of creativity at work.  Both science and art are appreciative of beauty, and seek to capture, portray and understand it. 

  "The sciences play so well with the arts, especially here in Flagstaff.  They are such a huge part of the culture of our community, more so than you see in other communities," said John "JT" Tannous, executive director of the Flagstaff Cultural Partners.

 It truly was a Peak Experience for Flagstaff's cultural life.  People were buzzing around, high on euphoria, interconnectedness, community.  Psychologist Abraham Maslow could have been describing the party on Saturday night when he talked about "transpersonal experiences."

  "We are all basking in an incredible glow!" said Tannous.  "It was an amazing night.  I'm proud of our town… so much support for the arts and sciences!  I will say that this turned out to be the most rewarding awards event yet.  I'm in love with all the people that were there.  I'm in love with Flagstaff.

"Most of all, so many people take this event as their own and love it and support it, that we feel we must honor that by making the event fabulous and ensuring that the nominees and winners are selected in an appropriate and transparent way.  It's the best thing we can do to repay everyone's support."

Thanks JT for making it a fabulous event.  It's Monday morning, and it was such a high for me that I'm STILL feeling bursts of bliss.  There is vision!  There are limitless horizons!  We can truly support the arts and sciences (and the ARTISTS and SCIENCES) in our town!!

  I hope that people, especially the nominees, can let this experience continue to uplift them, even if times are rough and the money is tight.  Release your creative energies, and ride the wave for awhile.  Keep the euphoria alive!  You deserve to feel good about your accomplishments!!
  As Dave Edwards, winner of the Mayor's Award for Lifetime Contribution to the Arts, said in his acceptance speech, "We live in a good environment to pull this off.  Flagstaff has warmth and sharing as its core values.  There is NOT intense competition."

  Our town has an amazing sense of oneness.  Everyone-- artist, musician, scientist, and patron--is a part of this. 

  (For a complete listing of the award winners, click here.) 

City of Flagstaff neighborhood planner Kim Sharp and Museum of Northern Arizona director Bob Breunig.

1 comment:

  1. A Peak Post, Elizabeth! It was a superb event and we are certainly lucky to be part of this artsy sciency town.