The Origin Project has received a prestigious 50 for 50 Arts Inspiration Award from the Virginia Commission for the Arts for excellence as an Emerging Arts Organization. The award was presented at the Commission’s 50th anniversary program on Wednesday, January 31st at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond. More than 300 artists, arts leaders, and award recipients attended from Virginia and across the country.
The Origin Project co-founders author and film director Adriana Trigiani and Nancy Bolmeier Fisher, Executive Director attended the ceremony and accepted the award on behalf of The Origin Project.
The Commission awarded 50 awards in 5 categories to arts organizations and individuals who demonstrated artistic excellence and inspiration over the last 50 years. They were chosen from an original pool of over 350 nominees. The criteria for the Emerging Artists and Organizations category was that the winners have been in existence under ten years, have demonstrated a benefit to the economic and or social health of the community, have demonstrated artistic excellence, outreach to underserved populations, embraced diversity, and taken a visionary or innovative approach to their work.
Other categories included were: Bedrock Institutions, Exemplary Programs and Pinnacle Events, Arts Leaders and Supporters, Outstanding Artists.
“The event was a testament to the value of the arts in every aspect of our society” said Virginia Commission for the Arts Chair Shelley Kruger Weisberg. She added “We gathered together from across the Commonwealth to celebrate innovation, creativity, and artistic excellence”.
The legislation establishing the Commission was signed by Governor Mills Godwin on April 4, 1968.
The Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, Jane Chu was the featured guest and commended Virginia on the abundant and diverse arts culture that has been established throughout the state for the past 50 years.
Keynote Speakers Adriana Trigiani and Nancy Bolmeier Fisher introduced the audience to their Appalachian cultural literacy program The Origin Project for which they received an Arts Inspiration Award in the Emerging Arts Organization category.
The program and reception included entertainment by VCA touring artists groups The Bobby BlackHat Band and the Robert Jospe Trio. Richmond Ballet’s student outreach group the Minds in Motion Ambassadors presented a stimulating and thought-provoking video about the impacts of their program abroad. They energized the audience with their hopeful, lively performances, encouraging those watching to “change the world”.
VMFA Director Alex Nyerges welcomed the attendees to a reception in the Museum’s Marble Hall following the program and introduced the featured guests, Governor Ralph Northam and First Lady Pam Northam. Governor Northam congratulated the Commission on its 50th anniversary and emphasized the essential role of artists and arts leaders for continuing to enrich the culture and vitality of Virginia.