Clare Hoffman, Artistic Director of the Grand Canyon Music Festival (center), holds the 2010 Governors Arts Award for Arts Education at the 29th annual event at the Orpheum Theatre in Phoenix. At left is 18-year-old Hopi artist Jared Quamahongnewa, who created the award presented to the Grand Canyon Music Festival. At right is Jim Ballinger, Sybil Harrington Director of the Phoenix Art Museum, who made the presentation. The Museum's docent program received the award last year.
GRAND CANYON, Ariz. - Organizers with the Grand Canyon Music festival, an annual multi-weekend event featuring local and national musicians, were honored for their hard work in April when they won their first Governor's Award for arts in education.
The annual Governor's Arts Award was held April 19 at the Orpheum Theater in the downtown Phoenix area. A number of organizations make the event possible, including the Arizona Comission on the Arts, Arizona Citizen's for the Arts and the governor's office. The ceremony is designed to recognize outstanding achievements and contributions to the art community in Arizona. This year, 19 communities submitted 80 nominations in a total of five different categories. Governor Jan Brewer was also on hand for the event to offer opening remarks.
Grand Canyon Music Festival co-organizer Clare Hoffman attended the Phoenix event.
"Not only did the Grand Canyon Music Festival win an award, one of our long-time board members Shirley Chann was honored with the Shelley Award for arts advocacy and support for really a lifetime of support of the arts in Arizona and really nationally," Hoffman said. "She's an amazing supporter of the arts. It was just wonderful to be there with her on that night getting the award at the same time. She's really an extraordinary individual and deserved the award."
As part of the art awards ceremony, organizers choose an Arizona artist to create an award for the winners in each category.
"This year all the awards were to be made of wood. One of the awards was a mask. Another award was a beautiful wooden vase," Hoffman said. "The Grand Canyon Music Festival's award for arts in education was a beautiful Kachina made by an 18-year-ld Hopi artist named Jared Quamahongnewa. One of the teachers we work with when we do our school programs on the Navajo and Hopi reservations is a wonderful guitarist, musician named Blair Quamahongnewa. I had to ask this young artist, 'Are you related?' and he said yes. Blair is his uncle. That was a nice, serendipitous thing to be on the stage with this young man and it turns out he's Blair's nephew. That was nice. It was a beautiful evening in Phoenix. It was nice to be there with all those wonderful people."
Besides accolades in Arizona, the festival' Native American Composer Apprentice Project was also a recent feature on public radio's "Music That Matters," part of "Performance Today."
Music festival slated to return in September
Hoffman said plans for the 2010 Grand Canyon Music Festival are currently under way. The festival is slated for September, with further details pending, but added that it will be an "exciting" local event.
"I just put the finishing touches on our first weekend," Hoffman said.
Events will include pianists, a guitar duo, and the return of ETHEL, who entertained during last year's music festival as well. School of Rock will also return this year.
"They're coming back with two projects that they are working with us on. One is the Native American Composer Apprentice project, for the Navajo and Hopi lands, and the project that we got the governor's arts award for. They will be working with us on the project, but they also have a project called Truck Stop. ETHEL has been traveling all over the country, performing with musicians from all parts of the country, all genres, all styles of music, various cultures, just to kind of have collaborations. Last year they came to us with James Bilogodi, who was a musician from Tuba City right there in the neighborhood, and also they brought in a musician from Hayden, KY, who is part of the traditional Osborne family of Bluegrass musicians, a traditional bluegrass banjo player, so that was a really interesting, eclectic concert. They've got another thing that they're working on this year, which is the same kind of eclectic mix."
Part of this year's collaboration will include a virtuoso on the Hawaiin slide guitar. A concert for the Native American Apprentice project is currently scheduled for Sept. 12 at the community building within Grand Canyon National Park. She said the concert would be one of the only programs not to be held at the Shrine of Ages.
"The weekend concerts, the Friday and Saturday concerts, are all at the Shrine of the Ages at 7:30 p.m.," Hoffman said.
For more information, visit the Grand Canyon Music Festival's website at www.grandcanyonmusicfest.org.