Academy Awards

Tennessee Arts Academy Award Recipients

The Tennessee Arts Academy confers awards on individuals each year in a variety of categories during the Bravo Banquet ceremony and the Finale luncheon. The categories and previous award winners are listed below.

The 2014 award recipients were as follows:

Douglas Henry

Lamar Alexander Founder’s Award of Distinction

Douglas Henry is the most senior senator in the Tennessee legislature and its longest serving member. Representing District 21, which encompasses part of Davidson County, he is currently chairman emeritus of the Committee on Finance, Ways, and Means. Before his tenure in the Tennessee Senate, Henry served in the Tennessee House of Representatives. During his long and illustrious career, Senator Henry has championed many causes, particularly that of public education. Henry graduated from Vanderbilt University and is a member of the Nashville, Tennessee, and American Bar Associations and of the Association of Life Insurance Counsel. Since his service in World War II, he has been a member of the American Legion and is a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He serves on the executive committees of the Tennessee Historical Society, the Tennessee State Museum Foundation Board, State Museum Commission, Southern Legislative Conference, and the Council of State Governments, where he also serves on their Legal Task Force Committee. Henry maintains a private law office in Nashville.

Rupert Holmes

Tennessee Arts Academy Distinguished Service Award

Rupert Holmes—the first person in Broadway history to win Tony Awards for Best Book, Best Music, and Best Lyrics for the same musical during the same year—is often described as a modern day Renaissance man. His prize-winning show, The Mystery Of Edwin Drood, also received the Tony Award in 1985 for Best Musical. For Say Goodnight, Gracie, a play based on the life of George Burns, Holmes won a National Broadway Theatre Best Play Award and a Best Play Tony Award nomination. He is author of the novels Swing and Where The Truth Lies (now a major motion picture) and is the creator and writer of television’s Emmy Award-winning series Remember Wenn. Twice awarded the “Edgar” (Mystery Writers of America’s highest honor) for his stage mysteries, Holmes’s work includes the Broadway comedy-thrillers Accomplice, Solitary Confinement, and Thumbs. Author of the Broadway smash-hit Curtains, Holmes is currently involved in numerous projects, including musical versions of The Picture of Dorian Gray, Remember Wenn, Marty, The Nutty Professor (which premiered at Nashville’s TPAC), and the stage dance event Swango. A legendary writer, arranger, and producer, Holmes’s platinum hit songs have been recorded by everyone from Britney Spears to Barbra Streisand. He wrote and sang Escape (the Pina Colada Song), which was number one on the charts worldwide throughout the late 70s and early 80s. His words and music are featured in such films as Shrek, Bewitched, American Splendor, and A Star is Born, as well as TV’s The Shield, Las Vegas, Six Feet Under, and Will & Grace.

Cindy Freeman and Michael Meise

Lorin Hollander Award

Cindy Freeman and Michael Meise are a unique husband and wife teaching team that have brought great success to music programs at Dickson County High School.

Cindy Freeman is currently celebrating her fortieth year as director of choral activities at Dickson County High School, where she directs six choral organizations and teaches classes in theory and harmony, as well as music history. After earning a music degree with a major in piano, Freeman earned her master of music degree in choral conducting from Austin Peay State University; it was while at Austin Peay that she studied extensively with her mentor, Dr. George Mabry. During her tenure at Dickson County High School, Freeman’s choirs have consistently scored superior ratings and garnered many honors at state, regional, national, and international festivals. In 2012, during the Performing Arts Consultants Festivals at Sea Bahamas, her high school’s concert choir received a 100 rating—the first perfect score ever given at the event. In February of this year, the choir performed in concert at New York City’s Carnegie Hall.

Michael Meise served as the band director at Dickson County High School for twenty-five years after attending Austin Peay State University, where he completed degrees in both music education and language and literature. While teaching at Dickson County High School, Meise earned a doctor of jurisprudence from the Nashville School of Law and then began his own legal practice. He recently returned to the high school in Dickson to continue his lifelong passion for teaching music. Meise currently splits his time between working as an attorney and serving as assistant director of the Dickson County High School Concert Choir and Chamber Singers. Meise is a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Tennessee Bar Association. A strong advocate for arts education, he is the current vice president of the Tennessee Arts Academy Foundation.

Cindy Freeman and Michael Meise are an exemplary couple who exhibit the highest standards of excellence and devotion to the teaching profession. They have inspired and motivated countless students toward success and have deeply enriched the cultural heritage of their community.

Fred Patterson

Joe W. Giles Lifetime Achievement Award

Fred W. Patterson is an outstanding art educator, dedicated arts administrator, and talented visual artist. Born in Monroe, Michigan, Patterson graduated from the University of Tennessee and began his teaching career as the art teacher at Ball Camp Elementary School in the Knox County Schools. He subsequently taught in several middle and high schools within the system. He served as the assistant principal at Halls High School before becoming the supervisor of art for the Knox County Schools, a position he held from 1984 until his retirement in 2012. During his tenure, Patterson was well known for his resourcefulness in researching and implementing innovative teaching strategies. Thanks to his hard work as a supervisor, the Knox County Art Department is now recognized throughout the education community for its exemplary curriculum and assessment models. As a result of his outstanding leadership, in 1998 Patterson was named Supervision and Administration Art Educator of the Year by the Tennessee Art Educators Association. In addition to his many academic credits and accolades, Patterson is an accomplished artist, with work on view in many private collections and galleries.

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.

Special Award of Merit

is presented to an individual or group who has achieved a unique milestone in the arts that deserves recognition and honor.

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


Lorin Hollander Award


Distinguished Service 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
  James R. Holcomb, Memphis
Flowerree W. (Galetovic) McDonough, Knoxville
Joe W. Giles, Nashville
Richard Mitchell, Knoxville
Carol Crittenden, Nashville
Fred Patterson, Knoxville
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

  Jeanette Crosswhite, arts education administrator

   Pat and Thane Smith, arts patrons and philanthropists
Cindy Freeman and Michael Meise, music educators and arts advocates
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



  Henry Krieger, Broadway composer
Marvin Hamlisch, composer and pianist
Richard Sherman, composer and lyricist
Marc Cherry, Hollywood writer and producer
Rupert Holmes, playwright, composer, and lyricist


Spirit of Tennessee Award


Partner in the Arts Award


Special Award of Merit

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   Cherry Jones, Broadway actress
2008   Steve Spiegel, president of Theatrical Rights Worldwide
2013   E. Frank Bluestein, Germantown

Lamar Alexander Founder's Award of Distinction

  Senator Lamar Alexander, United States Senator
Douglas Henry, Tennessee State Senator