A! Magazine for the Arts

Jim Martin honored by state

April 30, 2013

Tennessee's highest honor in the arts, the Governor's Arts Award, presented by Gov. Bill Haslam and First Lady Crissy Haslam, honored Johnson City, Tenn., resident James C. "Jim" Martin in the Arts Leadership category. Recipients in this category come from arts organizations, business, education, patrons, arts administrators, corporations or volunteers who demonstrate significant support or participation in activities which foster excellence in, appreciation of, or access to the arts throughout the state.

"We congratulate each recipient of the 2013 Governor's Arts Awards," said Anne Pope, executive director of the Tennessee Arts Commission. "These exceptional individuals represent excellence in the arts, and illustrate the rich diversity of our state's cultural heritage. It's gratifying to see their many accomplishments recognized in such a special way."

Martin was chosen because he has made a tremendous impact on the arts in Northeast Tennessee. Over the past several years, he has made extraordinary gifts to regional arts organizations in memory of his late wife, Mary B. Martin. While he has contributed to many arts organizations throughout Northeast Tennessee, his largest gift since 2008 led to the creation of East Tennessee State University's Mary B. Martin School of the Arts. The school brings all the arts at ETSU together under one umbrella, and provides support and advocacy for the visual and performing arts to the faculty, students and general public. However, the primary mission of the school is to provide a wide range of arts activities including high-caliber performing arts events, exhibitions and workshops.

In the fall of 2012, Martin provided another donation to the university, a gift that will serve as a catalyst for ETSU's proposed arts classroom building and performing arts center.

As Martin has said, "I have been slowly trying to weave a tapestry of local art-oriented institutions that can cooperate and begin to form an influential presence in our area."

Other honorees in the Arts Leadership Category were Donald Fann of Woodbury and Knox Phillips and David Porter of Memphis. The Folklife Heritage Award was presented to Polly Page of Pleasant Hill and WDVX radio in Knoxville. The Distinguished Artist Award was presented to Bobby "Blue" Bland of Germantown, Ann Patchett of Nashville and Jim Sherraden of Nashville.