The goal of the Western Arts Alliance Awards Program is to nurture and celebrate leadership, encourage best practices that stimulate the field, promote volunteerism and service to WAA, and strengthen and celebrate WAA as a community of peers and professionals. It is the purpose of the Awards Program to identify and acknowledge those members or organizations whose innovation, hard work and dedication advance our field and association.
Celebrating Leadership, Creativity, Service & Mentorship
The Western Arts Alliance Awards Program identifies and acknowledges those members or organizations whose innovation, hard work and dedication advance our field and association. WAA works to nurture and celebrate leadership, encourage best practices that stimulate the field, promote volunteerism and service to WAA, and strengthen and celebrate WAA as a community of peers and professionals.
Honoring extraordinary vision, distinguished leadership, and artistic achievement.
The Leadership Award was established by the WAA Board of Directors in 1985 as The Distinguished Service Award. In 1992, the board presented the first award to Jerry Willis and rechristened the award in his honor. Jerry Willis (1938-1997) co-founded the organization now known as Western Arts Alliance. For 27 years, he managed Caltech Public Events and was a driving force for presenting in the West and nationally.
|Randall Kline and Laura Connelly|
- 2016 Erin Palmer
- 2015 Celesta Billeci | UC Santa Barbara
- 2014 Michael Reed | ASU GAMMAGE
- 2013 Randall Kline | SFJAZZ
- 2012 Folklore Productions International
- 2011 White Bird
- 2010 Merce Cunningham Dance Company
- 2009 Julia Glawe | IMG Artists
- 2008 David Lieberman | David Lieberman Artists' Representatives
- 2007 Michael & Theresa Holden | Holden & Associates
- 2006 Jude Narita | Jude Narita/No Surrender Productions
- 2005 Hoyt "Toby" Mattox | Houston Fine Arts Society
- 2004 Eli Ashley | Broadway Center for the Performing Arts
- 2003 Robert Cole | Cal Performances
- 2002 Matt Krashan | UW World Series
- 2001 Kenneth Foster | UA Presents
- 2000 The James Irvine Foundation
- 1999 Patrick W. Kopp | California State University, Chico
- 1998 Charles Hamlen | Classical Action
- 1997 Michael Alexander | Grand Performances
- 1996 Ruth A. Felt | San Francisco Performances
- 1995 Kathy Hotchner | Scottsdale Center for the Arts
- 1994 Michael Blachly | UCLA
- 1993 Ira Perman | Anchorage Concert Association
- 1992 Jerry Willis
Recognizing inspirational projects, new work, and ground‐breaking initiatives.
The Vanguard Award was established in 2012 by the Awards Committee and WAA Board to celebrate the creativity, invention, and discovery—pillars of innovation that are the bread and butter of the performing arts—that advance our work, organizations, and field. This is the only award that is selected by the members themselves from a group of finalists vetted by the Awards Committee.
The inaugural Vanguard Award honored ArtPower! at UC San Diego for its development of The Loft Performance Lounge & Wine Bar, created "to transform the context of the delivery of the performing arts" and to involve the university's student population on every level - from patron or performer or programmer to administrator.
Recognizing exceptional volunteer service to Western Arts Alliance, its members, and the field.
The Service Award was established in 1992 to honor Betty Connors, a co-founder of Western Arts Alliance and this award's premier recipient. Mrs. Connors (1917-2009) led the Committee for Arts and Lectures (later, Cal Performances) at the University of California, Berkeley, for 35 years. When Mrs. Connors was hired in 1945, it was the first salaried position devoted exclusively to the management of concerts at UC Berkeley (and likely the first at any public university in the West).
- 2016 Jerry Ross | Harmony Artists
- 2015 Bruce Labadie
- 2014 Ivan Sygoda | Pentacle
- 2013 Rick Farrell | ICM Partners
- 2012 Romana Jaroff | IMG Artists
- 2011 Aaron Egigian | Segerstrom Center for the Arts
- 2010 Katherine Miller | Kamstar Artist Management
- 2009 Martin Wollesen | ArtPower! at UC San Diego
- 2008 Irene Namkung | Traditional Arts Services
- 2007 Terry Yagura | Arts for Schools
- 2006 Cathy Pruzan | Cathy Pruzan Artist Representative
- 2005 Canadian Consulate General
- 2004 Mary Beth Treen | Mary Beth Treen Artist Management
- 2003 Sue Endrizzi | California Artist Management
- 2002 Nina Black | Golden Bough
- 2001 Robert Bluestone | Woven Harmony
- 2000 Ingrid Kidd Goldfarb | Classical Auction West
- 1999 Cedric D. Reverand II | Univ. of Wyoming, Laramie
- 1997 Geoffrey English | Saddleback College
- 1996 Colleen Jennings-Roggensack | ASU
- 1995 Lois Wagner | Stanford Lively Arts
- 1994 Edsel Matthews | Koncepts Culture Gallery
- 1993 Marc Cianaca | University of California Santa Cruz
- 1992 Betty Connors
Recognizing excellence in mentoring and a commitment to the professional advancement of the western performing arts community.
The Mentoring Award was originally established in memory of Darlene Neel, the 26-year Company Manager of the Bella Lewitzky Dance Company. Ms. Neel (1941-1999) was known to be a generous mentor, a principled manager, an innovator, and - above all - a good friend.
- 2016 Ken Waldman
- 2015 David Palmer | Soka University of America
- 2014 Susan Martin | Lakewood Cultural Center
- 2013 Ally R. Haynes-Hamblen
- 2012 Rachel Cohen
- 2011 Todd Walker
- 2010 Dan Dewayne
- 2009 Mary Beth Treen
- 2008 Robin Hodgkin
- 2007 Steve Lerian
- 2006 Liz Silverstein
Given to honor members upon their retirement for exemplary and extensive service both to WAA and the field.
- 2016 Stephen Seifert
- 2015 Douglas C. Rankin
- 2011 Matthew Krashan
- 2010 Peter Wilt
- 2009 Robert Cole, Kathy Hotchner, Mary Beth Treen
- 2008 Mariedi Anders, Geoff English, Kevin O'Connor
- 2007 Terry Yagura, Barry Bonifas
- 2005 Lois Wagner
- 2004 Edsel Matthews (posthumous)
- 2003 Dr. Robert Wilkins, Thom Hill
- 2002 Lynne Peterson, Michael Putnam (posthumous)
- 2001 Wayne Shilkret (posthumous)
- 2000 Joann Muneta, Susie Dowler
- 1999 James B. Crow (posthumous), Bella Lewitzky, Janet Oetinger, Sheldon Soffer
- 1998 Barbara Furstenberg, Tom Lehman
- 1996 Bernard "Jack" Jackson (posthumous)
- 1995 Robert Haag
- 1994 Betty Connors, Betty Tesman
- 1993 Herb Fox, Jim Wockenfuss
- 1992 Olive McDuffee, Phyllis Warshaw
Honoring Members who have made an outstanding impact on the performing arts touring and presenting field in the West.
The Distinguished Service Award, WAA’s first, recognizes leaders in the touring and presenting field.
WAA resurrected the Distinguished Service Award in 2013 to recognize David Fischer, a colleague whose leadership and service defies categorization.
- 2015 Michael Blachly
- 2013 David Fischer
- 1992 Repertory Dance Theater
- 1991 Ingrid Kidd, Western States Arts Federation
- 1990 Sharon Morgan, Sheldon Soffer, Jerry Yoshitomi
- 1989 Thom Hill, Marda Kern, Kronos Quartet, Janet Oetinger,
- 1987 Bella Lewitzky
- 1986 Mariedi Anders, Susie Farr, Bob Kay, Bill Martin, Mountain Bell Foundation
- 1985 Arnie Malina, Jerry Willis