Governor Joe Manchin III and First Lady Gayle Manchin honored William Maxwell Davis of Charleston with the top honor, the Governor’s Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement, for his significant accomplishments in the arts at the 2008 Governor’s Arts Award Monday evening, June 9, at the Cultural Center, State Capitol Complex in Charleston. The event was hosted by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History and the West Virginia Commission on the Arts.
Davis received the award for outstanding public service to the arts. He has worked tirelessly to put participation in the arts within reach for everyone in West Virginia, including the large rural population that is too often neglected in arts programming. Davis has been firm in his belief that every citizen deserves to live a life graced by meaningful interaction with art. During his more than 30 years as a member and chairman of the West Virginia Commission on the Arts, the Commission made a dramatic impact on the availability of arts resources in West Virginia by distributing millions of dollars to improve facilities for arts program.
Over the years, Davis has served as trustee emeritus and former chairman and acting president of the University of Charleston, former trustee and chairman of the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation, former president of Family Services and Travelers Aid of Kanawha Valley, former treasurer of the Charleston Chamber of Commerce, and president of Marshall University Graduate College Foundation. He also has served as a board member of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra and the Charleston Chamber Music Society and visiting committee member of West Virginia University Library System and West Virginia University College of Creative Arts, among others.
In 2004, Davis was awarded the Distinguished Public Service Award through the National Association of State Arts Agencies. The award was created in 2000 to recognize the contribution of volunteer leaders to the public arts support field. It honors individuals whose outstanding service, creative thinking and leadership have had a significant impact on the field of public support for the arts in their state or region.
Davis retired in 1979 as president of the Bank of West Virginia. Currently he is a director for Kanawha Investment & Trust Company.
Other awards presented on Monday included the Appalachian Folklife Award to Gerry Milnes of Elkins, who has dedicated himself to the practice and preservation of West Virginia folklife and folk art in all forms. Adam DeGraff and Barbara Nissman, both of Lewisburg, received the Distinguished Service to the Arts Award. DeGraff has spent the last 20 years utilizing his skills to serve as a concert violinist, dedicated teacher and ambassador for the arts. Nissman is a concert pianist, teacher, writer, lecturer and recording artist who is honored in the Steinway Hall of Legends. Leadership in the Arts Awards were presented to Larry Groce and Lakin Ray Cook of Charleston and the Morgan Arts Council of Berkeley Springs. Groce is a singer/songwriter, perhaps best known for serving as artistic director, host and co-producer of Mountain Stage. Cook has had an extensive career in the arts both in the public and private sectors including serving as director of arts for the West Virginia Division of Culture and serving on numerous grant panels for state and national granting programs. The Morgan Arts Council was one of the first local arts councils established in West Virginia and has provided strong leadership to individual artists, schools, the statewide arts community and arts organization.
For more information, contact Jeff Pierson, director of arts for the Division, at (304) 558-0240, ext. 717.
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History, an agency of the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, brings together the state’s past, present and future through programs and services in the areas of archives and history, the arts, historic preservation and museums. Its administrative offices are located at the Cultural Center in the State Capitol Complex in Charleston, which also houses the state archives and state museum. The Cultural Center is West Virginia’s official showcase for the arts. The agency also operates a network of museums and historic sites across the state. For more information about the Division’s programs, visit www.wvculture.org. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.
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William Davis, First Lady Gayle Manchin and Governor Joe Manchin III with award
Governor Joe Manchin III, William Davis and First Lady Gayle Manchin
Barbara Nissman, Governor Joe Manchin III, First Lady Gayle Manchin, and Cathey Sawyer
Mary Hott for the Morgan Arts Council