Governor to honor Donald Fann

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Donald Fann

Donald Fann, executive director of the Arts Center of Cannon County, will receive Tennessee's highest honor in the arts Tuesday, April 23 from Gov. Bill Haslam and First Lady Crissy Haslam.

Established in 1971, the Governor's Arts Awards is sponsored by the Tennessee Arts Commission. Fann is one of nine recipients of the 2013 Governor's Arts Awards.

"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."

Recipients were selected from a field of nominees in three different categories - Folklife Heritage, Arts Leadership and Distin-guished Artist. Fann is one of three winners in the Arts Leadership category.

Fann has been the executive director of the Arts Center of Cannon County since 1995. Under his leadership, the Arts Center of Cannon County and the town of Woodbury have received national recognition as a model for rural arts community development.

 Accomplishments include Woodbury being named one of the 100 Best Small Arts Towns in America; founding a Grammy-winning record label; managing a community theater, averaging 80 percent capacity; and developing a school matinee series where every student in Cannon County (10,000 students annually) sees four productions a year.

Fann also serves as a mentor to other Tennessee rural communities through a peer network he helped create.

Joining Fann as an Arts Leadership recipient are James C. "Jim" Martin of Johnson City, and  Knox Phillips and David Porter of Memphis. 

Martin 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.

Phillips is a music producer, an engineer, and has added to the legacy of his father Sam Phillips, the founder of Sun Studio where Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis first recorded.

Porter is a world-famous songwriter whose songs include such hits as "Soul Man," "Hold On I'm Coming," and "Knock On Wood." Porter's songs - many co-written with Isaac Hayes - have sold more than 300 million units, and have been featured in countless film soundtracks and network television shows.

Receiving the Distinguished Artist Award are Bobby "Blue" Bland of Germantown, Ann Patchett of Nashville, and Jim Sherraden of Nashville.  The Distinguished Artist Award recognizes artists of exceptional talent and creativity in any discipline.

Bland is one of the most influential singers in blues history, and is often referred to as the "Lion of the Blues."  In fact, he is acknowledged by many as the greatest male blues singer in history.

With an extremely successful recording and touring career, he has earned many honors, including recognition in being inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1981, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992, and received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997.

  A long-time Nashville resident, Patchett brings global renown to Tennessee through her work as a novelist and essayist.

 She is the only Tennessee writer ever to win Great Britain's Orange Prize, long acknowledged as one of the most important in the world. She has also won the Kafka Prize, the PEN/Faulkner Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Her books have been translated into 30 languages, and at least two of her books have appeared on the New York Times bestseller list.

Under the leadership of Sherraden, Hatch Show Print has been transformed into a world-renowned force in contemporary art and handmade design. Since 1879, the Nashville letterpress company has been using a hands-on process, and has produced work for Elvis, Johnny Cash, B.B. King, Willie Nelson, Pearl Jam and Coldplay.

Receiving Folklife Heritage Awards are Polly Page of Pleasant Hill, and independent radio station WDVX in Knoxville.

Page, now 94, is a woodcarver/dollmaker from the Pleasant Hill community in Cumberland County.

Page has been a noted figure in traditional Tennessee crafts since World War II. Trained in the craft program at the Appalachian social mission school of Pleasant Hill Academy, she is known for a variety of animal and human figures, including her signature Aunt Jenny and Uncle Pink dolls. Her dolls have been exhibited at the Smithsonian and other folk museums around the world.  Actress Jane Fonda gained inspiration from Page in preparing for her role in the movie, "The Dollmaker."

WDVX in Knoxville is an independent, nonprofit radio station specializing in traditional music.  Through the Internet, the station has gained wide acclaim and international listenership with its eclectic programming in bluegrass, old-time, blues, gospel, and other roots music. The station's Blue Plate special series provides performance opportunities for regional musicians. The Oxford American magazine has called WDVX, "probably the best radio station in the world."




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Donald Fann, Governor's Award
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Members Opinions:
March 30, 2013 at 8:17pm
Congratulations Donald on a job well performed! Keep up the great work!
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