A! Magazine for the Arts

Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

2022 AAME Arts Achievement Award Winners announced

March 27, 2022

The Arts Alliance Mountain Empire announces the 2022 winners of its eighth annual Arts Achievement Awards. They are Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, Katy Brown, Rick McVey, Rob Simis and Suzanne Stryk.

Kimberly Brubaker Bradley is the author of 18 children’s and young adult books. ”The War That Saved My Life” and “Fighting Words” won Newbery Honors Medals. She is also the co-founder of the Appalachian Literacy Initiative, an organization that gives new books of their choice to children of low-income Appalachians — more than 20,000 in the most recent school year.

Before becoming Barter Theatre’s fourth Producing Artistic Director in 2019, Katy Brown had served the theater as an actor, a director, associate artistic director and the artistic director of the Barter Players. Of special note is that Brown led Barter’s response to the Covid pandemic, repurposing the Moonlite Drive-In so that thousands of Barter patrons could enjoy live performances outdoors when the indoor theatre could not open.

Rick McVey has had a nearly 50-year career in Bristol and Abingdon in theater, storytelling, radio, television and film. In his early years, he worked at WOPI Radio and WCYB-TV. He then performed for many years with Theatre Bristol before becoming a member of Barter Theatre’s Resident Acting Company and performing in more than 100 productions over 17 years. His film “Freedom” won Best Film at the Virginia Independent Film Festival.

Rob Simis is an exemplary model of leadership and advocacy of the arts in the region. Simis has been a supporter of many arts and charitable organizations in the area, including the Birthplace of Country Music. However, his greatest service has been as a board member and president of the board of directors of the Paramount Center for the Arts for 15 years, including the last three years when the center was going through a financial crisis.

Suzanne Stryk has had a 30-year career as a visual artist, exhibiting her conceptual nature paintings and assemblages in solo exhibitions throughout the United States. This year Stryk published “The Middle of Somewhere: An Artist Explores the Nature of Virginia,” which recounts her project of developing assemblages inspired by Thomas Jefferson’s book “Notes on the State of Virginia” about the various regions of Virginia.

A gala awards ceremony is held Saturday, May 21 at the Delta Hotel by Marriott (the former Holiday Inn) in Bristol, Virginia, to honor the winners. The gala consists of a cocktail hour, dinner, music, a silent auction and the awards ceremony. Tickets are $100 for individuals, and tables for eight can be purchased for $800.

For tickets, purchase them themhere or send a check to AAME Gala, Box 94, Bristol, TN 37621. For more information, visit aamearts.org.