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Arthur Williams Award for Meritorious Service to the Arts

Arthur Williams looking toward the camera while opening mail

Arthur Williams (1926-2013)

The award is named after the Council’s founding executive director. In addition to his critical work at the Arts Council, Williams’ long career included public school teaching, serving in the Vermont Legislature and chairing the effort to restore the Vermont State House. The award is given to those who mirror his selfless public service and devotion to artistic excellence as one vital ingredient in a robust community as well as his desire to see the arts thrive.


Selected by the staff of the Vermont Arts Council, this award is given to a person or organization for meritorious service to the arts in Vermont, according to the following criteria:

  • has a local or statewide reputation in their chosen field as evidenced by third-party acclaim or reviews from independent sources

  • has significant standing in a Vermont community

  • is nominated by at least one non-Arts Council staff or board member


Lydia Clemmons

Photo courtesy of Vermont Arts Council.

Lydia Clemmons, co-founder and president of Clemmons Family Farm

Shanta Lee Gander

Photo by Chinue Clifford.

Shanta Lee Gander
, writer, photographer, Brattleboro - award video






Douglas Anderson, 
artistic director, Town Hall Theater, Middlebury

Judith Chalmer
, author, retired director VSA Arts, Burlington

Gregory Sharrow,
folklorist at Vermont Folklife Center, Middlebury

Stephen Rice, music educator, Brattleboro

Gary Eckhart, president of Valley Arts Foundation, Waitsfield | video

Jody Fried, executive director of Catamount Arts, St. Johnsbury

Bruce Bouchard, executive director of the Paramount Theater, Rutland
Carol Driscoll, executive director of the Carving Studio, Rutland

Connecticut River Artisan Group
Vermont Crafts Council

Steve Ames, executive director at River Arts, Morrisville

Submit a Nomination

  • complete this online form
  • send a letter of recommendation to 136 State Street, Montpelier, VT 05633, or
  • send an email to the Council with "Award Nomination" in the subject line. Include your name and contact information. Also list three to five achievements, based on awards criteria, that qualify this nominee for the award and provide one to three links to information about the nominee that support this nomination

Recommendations are welcome throughout the year. To be considered for the 2021 awards, candidate names must have been submitted by June 1, 2021.