GOVERNOR'S ARTS AWARDS RECIPIENTS
The Governor's Arts Award honors individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the arts in their respective communities and the state of
Dale Kennington, currently residing in Dothan, creates large paintings with oil on canvas. Her works are included in more than twenty-five public collections throughout the United States, including The Federal Reserve; American Committee for UNICEF, New York, NY; Cheekwood Museum of Art, Nashville, TN; and every art museum in Alabama. Internationally her work is in the collection of King Carl Gustav XVI of Sweden and the United States Embassy, Paris, France. She was one of twelve artists selected for the exhibition Voices Rising: Alabama Women at the Millennium, presented at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington D.C. She is listed in Who’s Who in American Art and is part of the “Art In Embassies” program of the U. S. Department of State. up
Dr. Henry Panion, III of Birmingham holds degrees in music education and music theory from Alabama A & M University and Ohio State University, respectively. He is best known for his work as conductor and arranger for superstar Stevie Wonder. Dr. Panion has led many of the world’s most notable orchestras, including the Royal Philharmonic, the Bolshoi Theater Orchestra, the Birmingham (England) Symphony, the Orchestra of Paris, the Melbourne (Australia) Symphony, the Rio de Janeiro Philharmonic, the Ra’anana Philharmonic, the Nice Symphony, the Gothenburg Symphony, and the Boston Pops Orchestra. The two-CD set Natural Wonder features Dr. Panion conducting his arrangements of many of Stevie Wonder’s award-winning, chart-topping songs with Stevie and the Tokyo Philharmonic. up
Sena Jeter Naslund was born in Birmingham. In high school she played cello with the Alabama Pops Orchestra and won a music scholarship to the University of Alabama, but turned it down in favor of studying writing at Birmingham Southern College. Naslund is currently “Writer in Residence” at the University of Louisville and director of the Spalding University MFA Writing Program. She is also the Poet Laureate for Kentucky. Naslund is the founder and editor of The Louisville Review and the Fleur-de-Lis Press. Her published novels include: Sherlock in Love (1993), The Animal Way to Love (1993), Ahab's Wife (1999), Four Spirits (2003), Abundance (2006), Adam and Eve (2010); and two collections of stories: Ice Skating at the North Pole (1989) and The Disobedience of Water (1997). She has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Kentucky Foundation for Women, and the Kentucky Arts Council, and has won the Harper Lee Award and the Southeastern Library Association Fiction Award. up
Joyce Cauthen of Birmingham is the former executive director of the Alabama Folklife Association, a statewide organization that sponsors the research, promotion and preservation of Alabama's folk culture. She is the author of With Fiddle and Well-Rosined Bow: Old-Time Fiddling in Alabama, published in 1989 by the University of Alabama Press, and has served as the producer of numerous recordings of traditional music of Alabama, including Possum Up a Gum Stump: Home and Commercial and Field Recordings of Alabama Fiddlers. Cauthen’s latest project was a CD and booklet entitled Bullfrog Jumped, which features recordings of Alabama children's folksongs and games in the 40s. Cauthen has worked with the Alabama Folklife Association, the Alabama State Council on the Arts, the Birmingham Cultural and Heritage Foundation, and other organizations celebrating and preserving the old-time musical traditions of the state. up
The Jonnie Dee Little Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes someone who has devoted a lifetime of energy, service, and contributions to the arts in Alabama and is named after a past Council member from Auburn who died in 1988 after serving with great distinction on the Council and a lifetime of supporting the arts in Alabama.
The Distinguished Artist Award honors a professional artist who is a native of Alabama and who has gained significant national recognition over an extended period.
Rebecca Luker is a native of Birmingham, now residing in New York City. Luker was most recently active on Broadway in Disney's Mary Poppins in the role of Mrs. Banks. Rebecca received a Tony Award nomination and Outer Critics Circle Award nomination for Best Featured Actress. Also on Broadway she played Claudia opposite Antonio
Banderas in Nine, Marian Paroo in the revival of The Music Man (Tony Award nomination, Outer Critics Circle Award nomination, Drama Desk Award nomination) and Maria Rainer in the revival of The Sound of Music (Outer Critics Circle
Award nomination). TV credits include a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie Cupid and
Cate, Law and Order SVU - Poison, The Good Wife - Taking Control and several PBS broadcasts including The Boston Pops Concerts, My Favorite Broadway - The
Leading Ladies and The Love Songs, The Rogers and Hart Story, and Some Enchanted Evening to name a few.
The Folk Heritage Award was established to recognize master folk artists who have made outstanding contributions in the
James Bryan of Mentone has been a fiddler almost since birth. He won his first competition at 12, apprenticed with bluegrass master Kenny Baker, and took the title of Tennessee Valley Fiddle King at 17. Bryan eventually joined Norman Blake's Rising Fawn String Ensemble, where his mastery of the fiddle and repertoire of old-timey songs was honed. In the mid-1980s he recorded Lookout Blues and The First of May with Rounder Records, a decade later collaborating with guitarist Carl Jones in recording Two Pictures. Bryan, one of the 16 former fiddle kings who have reigned during 39 years of competition at the Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention (TVOTFC) spreading their musical influence worldwide. He has entertained in places as diverse as the Smithsonian Institute’s Bicentennial Celebration on The Mall in Washington, D.C., onstage at the Grand Ole Opry, and before a U.S. President. Bryan has recorded traditional fiddle tunes for posterity and mentored young fiddlers in their own music studios across the country. up
The Special Council Legacy Award recognizes individuals who make unique contributions for the public arena that will have a lasting import on future generations in Alabama and beyond.