A! Magazine for the Arts

Arts Alliance Achievement Award winners announced

March 28, 2018

The Arts Alliance Mountain Empire announces its 2018 winners of its Arts Achievement Awards. They include Kelly Bremner, Cornelia Laemmli Orth, Mary Beth Rainero, Leah Ross and Charles Vess.

Kelly Bremner is a theater professor at Emory & Henry College. She is known for her outstanding teaching, theater scholarship, and especially for directing many innovative productions at the college. Last year she won a prestigious Outstanding Teacher Award from the State Council for Higher Education in Virginia.

Cornelia Laemmli Orth has been the musical director and conductor of the Symphony of the Mountains since 2006. She has overseen the outreach of the symphony to include concerts throughout the region. She has been especially interested in nurturing programs that bring orchestral music to children and organizing summer outdoor concerts for families.

Mary Beth Rainero has been a tireless arts advocate in the region for nearly 50 years as a volunteer, project leader, fundraiser and board member of many institutions. She was key to the renovation of the historic Paramount Theatre and the Bristol Train Station, and has been involved both on-stage and as a supporter of Theatre Bristol.

Leah Ross has been central during the last 20 years to the revival of downtown Bristol businesses and Bristol as an arts and tourist destination. She is the Executive Director of the Birthplace of Country Music, which is the parent organization of Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion, the Birthplace of Country Music Museum and Radio Bristol.

Charles Vess is an internationally renowned fantasy artist who has illustrated numerous Marvel and D.C. Comics (“The Amazing Spiderman,” “Swamp Thing”) and the “Sandman” series written by Neil Gaiman. He has spent the last four years drawing illustrations of a new edition of Ursula K. Le Guin’s “Earthsea” Series.

A Gala awards ceremony is held Saturday, May 19 at the Holiday Inn in Bristol, Virginia, to honor the winners. The gala consists of a cocktail hour, dinner, music, a silent art auction and the awards ceremony. Tickets are $100 for individuals, and tables for eight can be purchased for $800. For tickets, visit www.aamearts.org/gala or send a check to AAME Gala, Box 94, Bristol, TN 37621. For more information about the event, call 423-646-3024. RSVP by May 11.

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, and it has published an arts directory and sponsors a lecture series and workshops on arts-related topics. These awards come from these categories: Artist - achievement in theater, music, dance, visual arts or literary arts; Arts Educator - achievement in arts education in a college or university, primary or secondary school; Arts Administrators - achievement in the management of arts institutions; and Arts Advocates - achievement in sustaining the arts through volunteering or financial support.