Company of Fools' Denise Simone Among 2014 Governor's Awards in the Arts Recipients; Ceremony Set for 12/2

Company of Fools' Denise Simone Among 2014 Governor's Awards in the Arts Recipients; Ceremony Set for 12/2

Company of Fools and Sun Valley Center for the Arts are pleased to announce that Core Company Artist Denise Simone is among the 2014 recipients of the Governor's Awards in the Arts. Governor C. L. Butch Otter and First Lady Lori Otter announced this year's honorees in August. Simone received the Excellence in the Arts distinction.

"I am deeply honored to receive this award. Though it's strange to receive acknowledgment for doing what I love--in a place I call home," said Simone.

Simone is a founding member and Core Company Artist of Company of Fools, which is now a part of The Center. She's also an accomplished actor, director, and playwright with over 30 years of experience in professional nonprofit theatre. Simone's acting credits in Idaho include Margie in Good People, Polly in Other Desert Cities, 32 roles in The Syringa Tree, Shirley in Shirley Valentine, Gretta in James Joyce's The Dead, May in Fool For Love starring Bruce Willis and many more. Among Simone's numerous directing credits are Doubt, Frozen, The Laramie Project, A Christmas Carol and the New Voices series for Company of Fools and Virginia Repertory Theatre. As a playwright, she has had four plays produced in the United States. Her children's play on adoption, Me and My Families, toured for over four years and served as a recruitment tool for Virginia adoption agencies looking to match families with special needs children.

"It is wonderful to have Denise Simone's commitment to her work acknowledged in this way. We are truly honored to have people with Denise's talent sharing their craft with our community and the state," said Kristin Poole, Artistic Director at The Center.

Simone has also contributed her considerable talents and passion as a teacher; she's taught theatre and creative writing classes in Virginia and Idaho and created and implemented the Company of Fools innovative in-school program Stages of Wonder, now entering in its eighteenth year. Simone's additional support of the arts includes serving as a Commissioner on the Idaho Commission on the Arts from 2003-2010, as a theater panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, and on the boards of the Wood River Arts Alliance and the Hailey Chamber of Commerce.

Of her dedication to the theatre and the arts, Simone said: "When theatre is good--living and organic and truthful--a transformation occurs that is shared between artist and audience. Theatre then becomes an extremely powerful art form." This transformation she explained "keeps taking me to the next character" and further along in her journey as an actor, director, writer, teacher and arts administrator.

According to John Glenn, Core Company Artist and Simone's colleague, the Governor's Excellence in the Arts Award is a most fitting and well-deserved honor for Simone. "She has dedicated her life to the arts," he explained, "and dedicated the past 20 years to the arts in the state of Idaho." In light of Simone's "deep conviction and unfailing dedication" to the performing arts and arts education, Glenn stated, "It just doesn't get any better than Denise Simone."

The awards ceremony will take place on Tuesday, December 2, from 2:00 to 4:00pm at the Capitol rotunda in Boise. Governor Butch Otter and First Lady Lori Otter will be on hand to present silver medallions, designed by Idaho artist Elizabeth Wolf, to the 2014 recipients. The event is free and open to the public.

The biennial Governor's Awards in the Arts were established in 1970 by the Idaho Commission on the Arts to elevate recognition and awareness of Idaho arts and artists. Idaho was among the first in the nation to establish such a program. The Idaho Commission on the Arts is a state agency dedicated to making the arts available to all Idahoans.

Sun Valley Center for the Arts is located at 191 Fifth Street East in Ketchum, Idaho, and in Hailey at 314 South Second Avenue. Ketchum hours are 9 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday. Hours in Hailey are 2 to 5:30 pm Thursday and by appointment during exhibitions; please call to confirm.

Established in 1971, the core purpose of the Sun Valley Center for the Arts is to engage through arts and ideas. The Center provides art classes, seminars, concerts, lectures, film, dance, gallery exhibitions and more-12 months a year. The Sun Valley Center for the Arts merged with Company of Fools Theatre in January of 2013 and through this partnership now presents theatre productions. More than 40,000 people attend these events annually. Our programs are supported through the Engl Trust, the Idaho Commission on the Arts, the Idaho Humanities Council, the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities, private foundations, proceeds from the Sun Valley Center for the Arts Wine Auction, grants, donations and membership dues.

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