A! Magazine for the Arts

Pat Flannagan

Pat Flannagan

AAME announces Arts Achievement Award winners

March 31, 2021

The Arts Alliance Mountain Empire announces the 2021 winners of its annual Arts Achievement Awards. They are Wilhelmina Banks, Pat Flannagan, Barbara Kingsolver, Nick Piper, and Judy and Fred Slaughter.

The gala ceremony has been canceled for this year, but the winners will be celebrated online and in print, with extensive profiles in the May issue of A! Magazine for the Arts.

Banks has for decades singlehandedly maintained the Nyumba Ya Tausi Museum of African and African-American art, culture and history in Bristol, Virginia. It showcases an extensive personal collection of African artifacts, local African-American memorabilia and family heirlooms. Over the years she has educated thousands of people, especially school children, about African culture and the importance of African-American culture and history.

Flannagan has recently retired after 38 years as head of the music department at King University. Besides teaching music and music education courses, he developed a symphonic band, jazz band, symphonic choir, women’s ensemble, jazz choir and chamber choir. In the community Flannagan was the founding director of Voices of the Mountains, a regional chorus affiliated with the Symphony of the Mountains.

Kingsolver is one of the world’s most acclaimed writers, who has lived in Washington County, Virginia, for nearly 20 years. Her works include several that reflect the culture and natural world of the central Appalachian area: “Prodigal Summer,” “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” and “Flight Behavior.” She has won many awards for her writing, including the Orange Prize for Fiction, the National Humanities Medal, and recently an induction into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Piper began his career at Barter Theatre as an acting intern in 1990 and has had many varied responsibilities roles over the last 30 years. As an actor in Barter’s Resident Company, he has performed in more than 100 shows including “‘Death of a Salesman,” “A Streetcar Named Desire” and “La Cage Aux Folles.” He has directed many shows as well. He has overseen Barter’s Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights as well as the new Black in Appalachia Initiative.

The Slaughters have been lifelong supporters of the arts in Bristol and Abingdon. Judy has been on the Barter Theatre’s Board of Directors for 20 years. On one of her birthdays, Fred donated the funds for the Titania sculpture across from the theater. Fred has been especially interested in Theatre Bristol, even commissioning a book about its history. The Slaughters have also been generous contributors to the Paramount Theatre, the Birthplace of Country Music Museum and the Bristol Train Station restoration.

The Arts Alliance Mountain Empire is an arts council formed as a service organization for artists, arts organizations and other cultural endeavors throughout the Mountain Empire. The mission of AAME is to nurture, advocate and celebrate the arts. AAME fulfills its mission primarily as the publisher of “A! Magazine for the Arts.” It has published an arts directory and sponsors a lecture series and workshops on arts-related topics.