Perry F. Kendig Awards
By Roanoke College News

Roanoke and Hollins announce 2019 Kendig Award Nominees

Artists, arts advocates, and arts and cultural organizations are among the nominees for the 2019 Perry F. Kendig Arts and Culture Awards.

Co-sponsored by Hollins University and Roanoke College, the Kendig Awards program recognizes exemplary individuals, businesses, and organizations in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Region (counties of Roanoke, Botetourt and Franklin, the cities of Roanoke and Salem, and the town of Vinton) that support excellence in the arts.

This year’s winners will be announced at a special awards ceremony to be held at Roanoke College’s Olin Hall on Tuesday, September 24, at 5:30 p.m. If you are interested in attending this event, please RSVP to by Tuesday, September 10.

Here are the nominees for the 2019 Kendig Awards:

  • Harvester Performance Center
    Since its opening in 2014, the Harvester has been a key promoter of economic development through the arts in Rocky Mount and Franklin County. The venue hosts 180-200 shows annually and visitors have come from all 50 states as well as 23 countries. In addition to showcasing a diverse array of entertainers, ranging from acclaimed musicians and comedians to up-and-coming talent, the Harvester has attracted new restaurants, lodging, and other business creation and expansion.
  • Susan Jennings
    Jennings recently retired as the Arts and Culture Coordinator for the City of Roanoke and formerly was executive director of The Arts Council of the Blue Ridge. She continues to be an influential member on many advisory boards for the arts and a driving force behind the creation of initiatives such as Art for Everyone, Parks and Arts, and the Elmwood Park Restoration Project and Sculpture Garden. She played an instrumental part in the rebirth of downtown Roanoke through Center in the Square and the Taubman Museum of Art.
  • Yvonne Olson
    Olson worked for The Arts Council of the Blue Ridge for 10 years and has generously volunteered over 2,000 hours of her time at the Taubman Museum of Art, where she also manages the newsletter Volunteer Voices. She has been integral to the success of such popular events as the Sidewalk Art Show and the CANstruction project.
  • RIDE Solutions
    A promoter of sustainable travel, RIDE Solutions has partnered with the Roanoke Arts Commission, the Art Mural Project, and other organizations to integrate art into the community of transportation. The Art by Bus program and Starline Performance Series, where art, music, and literature are implemented into travel with rolling galleries and concerts, are only two of the many projects they have initiated.
  • The Studio School
    For 28 years, The Studio School has been a pioneer in arts education for the community. It offers art classes in all media to students from beginners to professionals. Teachers are recognized artists both locally and nationally, and their skills draw students far and wide to attend individual and/or group classes. The Studio School also provides affordable opportunities to study abroad and to experience intensive sessions with visiting artists. 
  • Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine
    VTCSOM places a priority on integrating arts and culture into the medical school experience. The focus of the school’s Creativity in Health Education program is to recognize the power or art in healing and recovery and teach students about the profound connection between art and medicine. Mini-Med Schools bring together these two disciplines with activities such as art shows and poetry contests. VTCSOM also presents art exhibitions in its hallways to reflect themes of healing.
  • Jimmy Ray Ward
    Ward has designed sets and exhibits for roughly 160 productions in 15 locations, and also teaches Radford University students to discover their unique talents. He is respected in the artistic community for his devotion to his craft; he is considered an exemplary collaborator and problem-solver, and has been brought back time and again by many organizations. From historical to whimsical, he has the impressive ability to convince an audience and is considered an “unsung MVP” for theatrical productions.

Named for the late Perry F. Kendig, who served as president of Roanoke College and was an avid supporter and patron of the arts, the Kendig Awards were established in 1985 and presented annually by the Arts Council of the Blue Ridge through 2012. Hollins University and Roanoke College first partnered the following year to bestow the honors, and congratulates the 2019 slate of distinguished nominees.

For more information about the Kendig Awards, visit