Contact:  Chuck Grimes

April 12, 2010 

Phone:  (615) 741-1967

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville) will, tonight, join Governor Bill Haslam and First Lady Crissy Haslam at the Tennessee Residence to honor the recipients of the 2011 Governor’s Arts Awards.  Tennessee’s highest honors in the arts, these awards are presented in three distinct categories.  Each category will recognize talent and leadership in the arts from West Tennessee this year.

Among the 2011 recipients of the Distinguished Artist Award is Mr. Dolph Smith of Ripley, an innovative and accomplished artist and art educator who has trained and inspired numerous working artists, as well as having work featured in public buildings, homes, and galleries around the world.

“He is quintessentially West Tennessee,” said Norris who represents Ripley in the Senate.  “Strong yet understated.  There is a tension in his work – sculptures, paintings, books – that evokes what I often feel in the fabric of life in West Tennessee.  His works are interwoven with who and what we are – the coexistence of illusion with reality.” 

The Blues Foundation of Memphis will receive the Folklife Heritage Award, given to individuals and organizations contributing to Tennessee’s artistic traditions, in recognition of its service as a beacon of Memphis-style Blues music around the world. 

In honor of his service as a patron of the arts and for enhancing access to the arts in multiple forms, Mr. Patrick W. Halloran, III of Memphis will receive the Arts Leadership Award for his role in the restoration and revitalization of the Orpheum Theatre which is now a thriving center for art and entertainment in Downtown Memphis. 

Of the honors, Senator Norris said, “What a wonderful way to celebrate the cultural diversity and accomplishments of West Tennessee.  From visual art to music to live theatre, we have it all.  I am very pleased that the Tennessee Arts Commission and Governor Haslam are taking time tonight to honor the individuals and groups who do so much to spread goodwill on behalf of Tennessee while supporting many positive endeavors within our state, as well.

First elected to the Senate in 2000 and as Majority Leader in 2007, Senator Norris is a member of the General Assembly Arts Caucus and represents the West Tennessee Counties of Shelby, Tipton, Lauderdale, and Dyer.


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