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Academy Awards

The Tennessee Arts Academy honors individuals and organizations each year in a variety of categories during the Bravo Awards Banquet and Performance and during the TAA Finale luncheon. Current and previous award winners are listed below, as well as descriptions of each award category.

2023 Tennessee Arts Academy Award Recipients
Tiffany Kerns and the CMA Foundation
Arts Leadership Award of Excellence
Bravo Awards Banquet and Performance
Curb Event Center
6:30 pm
July 12, 2023

As senior vice president of industry relations and philanthropy at the Country Music Association (CMA) and executive director of the CMA Foundation, Tiffany Kerns oversees the strategic direction and management of CMA’s membership events, initiatives, and programming. By developing and enhancing new, robust, and innovative membership strategies, Kerns ensures that professional development pathways exist that align with the needs of both the member base and the future of the industry. Offering world-class programming focused on mental health and wellness; diversity, equity, and inclusion; research; leadership; and financial security, Kerns amplifies the voices of each facet of the music business and equips all members to operate confidently and successfully within the industry. She is also responsible for the growth, development, and execution of the nonprofit’s charitable investments by creating intentional partnerships and implementing an impact-driven grant process. With a steadfast focus on improving the philanthropic model of giving, Kerns has led the charge in enriching music education programs across the United States, working to ensure every child has access to a high-quality music education and every music educator is provided the resources they need to create a thriving program.

Prior to joining CMA in 2013, Kerns worked for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. She was named a Billboard Country Power Player in 2021 and 2022 and received the CMA Chairman’s Award in 2021. She was a 2018 Women in Music City Award recipient and led the CMA Foundation to receiving the 2017 Stand for Music Award supporting music education advocacy. She continues to use her voice to place emphasis on growing and fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts throughout the music industry. Originally from Bradenton, Florida, Kerns graduated from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville with a degree in political science and a minor in business administration. 

The CMA Foundation (CMAF) began investing in music education in 2006 and was birthed from the passion of its artists and industry professionals who first fell in love with music within the four walls of a classroom. Thanks to the teachers who believed in them, these extraordinary artists and professionals were able to go after their dreams. For CMAF, it’s not just about raising up the next generation of musicians but about leveraging the impact that music has on students. The CMA Foundation partners with the country music community to provide more students with the opportunity to participate in music education programs.

Melody Weintraub
Joe W. Giles Lifetime Achievement Award
Finale Luncheon
Curb Event Center
11:30 am
July 14, 2023

Melody Weintraub is the past president of the Tennessee Art Education Association (TAEA). While serving as president, she helped to usher in several new programs, including STARS (State of Tennessee Art Review and Showcase), and established an outreach for Middle Tennessee art teachers most affected by the devastating tornado in 2020. In 2014, she was selected as TAEA’s Middle Level Art Educator of the Year. Weintraub has presented numerous professional development workshops for the National Art Education Association (NAEA) as well as workshops and teacher training in Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, South Carolina, and Virginia. She has also presented workshops for and has designed several guitars for the Tennessee Arts Academy. Weintraub is an accomplished artist, participating in several group and solo exhibitions as well as writing and illustrating a children’s book, The Little Bluebird. She has written more than thirty articles for SchoolArts, a national magazine with an international reach. Two of her articles were featured on the cover. She was also featured in the SchoolArts compilation published by Davis Publications titled STEAM. Weintraub collaborated with educator Debi West to produce Teacher Encourage-Mints, a set of sixty motivational cards for teachers. She taught middle school art at Briarcrest Christian School in Eads, Tennessee, for sixteen years. While at Briarcrest, Weintraub also established a middle school drama program and directed eight musicals. In 2007, Briarcrest created a student scholarship award named in her honor, and most recently, Weintraub was inducted into the Briarcrest Fine Arts Hall of Fame. She retired in 2020 after thirty years of teaching in community classes and in public, private, and higher educational settings. She currently supervises art education candidates for the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. She also has a YouTube channel, Melody Weintraub’s Online Art Class. Besides teaching, making art, and writing, Weintraub also enjoys acting. She can be seen in several television commercials and appeared as the history teacher in the Academy Award–winning film The Blind Side.

Tennessee Arts Academy Awards
Arts Leadership Award of Excellence
is presented to an individual or group who has achieved a unique milestone in the arts that deserves recognition and honor.

Distinguished Service Award
is presented to an American whose work stands as a monument to the importance of the arts in the lives of all people.

Joe W. Giles Lifetime Achievement Award
is conferred upon a Tennessee teacher, whose life's work is widely acknowledged to have positively influenced the role of the arts in education, thereby benefiting the students of Tennessee's schools.

Lamar Alexander Founder's Award of Distinction
is presented to an individual whose meritorious accomplishments in the fields of education and the arts have profoundly impacted American culture and life.

Lorin Hollander Award
is given to a Tennessean whose influence has benefited arts education in general and/or the Tennessee Arts Academy in particular. This award is named in honor of internationally renowned concert pianist Lorin Hollander, a special friend of the Academy.

Partner in the Arts Award
honors an individual or business whose generosity and support have contributed in sustained and significant ways to the success of the Tennessee Arts Academy's mission.

Spirit of Tennessee Award
recognizes an individual or group whose work exemplifies the highest standards of artistic endeavor and brings positive recognition to the place of the arts in the lives of Tennesseans.
Previous Recipients
Joe W. Giles Lifetime Achievement Award
1995 Joseph Edward Hodges, Crossville
1996 Freda Kenner, Bells
1996 Sue Blass, Jackson
1997 Elizabeth Rike, Knoxville
1997 Celia Bachelder, Kingsport
1998 James Charles Mills, Johnson City
1998 Gene Crain, Memphis
1999 Patricia Brown, Knoxville
2000 Robert Pletcher, Nashville
2000 Kathy Hawk, Kingsport
2001 Tommie Pardue, Memphis
2001 Tully Daniel, Memphis (awarded posthumously)
2004 Marilyn duBrisk, Greeneville
2004 Bobby Jean Frost, Nashville
2005 Nancy Boone-Allsbrook, Murfreesboro
2005 Sally Crain Jager, Cookeville
2006 Michael Combs, Knoxville
2006 Jean R. Thomas, Chattanooga
2006 Mitchell Van Metre, Knoxville
2007 David Logan, Johnson City
2010 James R. Holcomb, Memphis
2011 Flowerree W. (Galetovic) McDonough, Knoxville
2011 Joe W. Giles, Nashville
2012 Richard Mitchell, Knoxville
2013 Carol Crittenden, Nashville
2014 Fred Patterson, Knoxville
2015 Gregg Coats, Memphis
2016 Ted Rose, Lebanon
2017 Margaret Campbelle-Holman, Nashville
2018 Linda Wilson Miller, Paris
2019 Donna Anderson, Knoxville
2022 Madeline Bridges, Nashville
Lorin Hollander Award
1994 Cavit Cheshier, education executive
1995 Steven Cohen, state senator
1996 Nellie McNeil, teacher and advocate
1997 Tom L. Naylor, music educator and administrator
1998 T. Earl Hinton, music educator
1999 Jane Walters, educator and arts advocate
2000 Martha McCrory, music educator
2001 Solie Fott, music educator
2008 Jeanette Crosswhite, arts education administrator
2013 Pat and Thane Smith, arts patrons and philanthropists
2014 Cindy Freeman and Michael Meise, music educators and arts advocates
2022 Marion and Stephen Coleman, music educators and arts advocates
Spirit of Tennessee Award
2000 Wilma Dykeman, writer
2001 Jim Crabtree, theatre director and writer
2002 Alice Swanson, arts education administrator and advocate
2003 George Mabry, choral conductor
2006 Dolph Smith, visual artist
2009 George S. Clinton, Hollywood film composer
2009 Jackie Nichols, theatre administrator
2009 Michael Stern, symphony conductor
2010 Charles Brindley, visual artist
2015 Cherry Jones, Broadway actress
2022 Aaron Lazar, Broadway, film, and television actor
Arts Leadership Award of Excellence
2013 E. Frank Bluestein, Germantown
2015 Music Makes Us, Nashville
2016 Belmont University, Nashville
Lamar Alexander Founder's Award of Distinction
2013 Senator Lamar Alexander, United States Senator Douglas Henry,
2014 Tennessee State Senator
2017 Bill Haslam, Tennessee Governor
Distinguished Service Award
1994 Charles Strouse, Broadway composer
1995 Charles Fowler, arts educator, writer and advocate
1996 Jerome Lawrence, playwright
1997 Lorin Hollander, concert pianist and philosopher
2000 Scott Ellis, Broadway theatre director
2000 Mary Costa, opera singer
2001 Sheldon Harnick, Broadway lyricist
2001 Tina Packer, Shakespeare actor and director
2003 Bob McGrath, singer and host of Sesame Street
2005 John Simon, author and arts critic
2005 Dean Pitchford, songwriter, lyricist, screenwriter, and director
2006 Andre Thomas, choral conductor
2007 Joe DiPietro, Broadway playwright and lyricist
2008 Henry Krieger, Broadway composer
2011 Marvin Hamlisch, composer and pianist
2012 Richard Sherman, composer and lyricist
2013 Marc Cherry, Hollywood writer and producer
2014 Rupert Holmes, playwright, composer, and lyricist
2015 Richard Maltby, Jr., director, lyricist, producer, writer
2016 Audrey Flack, painter and sculptor
2016 Andrew Lippa, composer, lyricist, performer, and writer
2016 Doc Severinsen, musician and bandleader
2017 Christopher Durang, Broadway playwright
2018 Tony Walton, Broadway set and costume designer
2019 Jeff Calhoun, Broadway choreographer, dancer, and director
2022 Harolyn Blackwell, opera singer and Broadway performer
Partner in the Arts Award
2008 Steve Spiegel, president of Theatrical Rights Worldwide

Please check back regularly for updates and information about the 2023 Tennessee Arts Academy.