Every year, the Flagstaff Arts Council presents the Viola Awards, the Oscars for the arts and sciences community. Celebrating excellence in the arts and sciences, the Viola Awards recognize artists, educators, organizations and leaders who make positive contributions to the arts and sciences in Flagstaff. Over 500 people attend the gala event to celebrate and support these amazing folks. This year, Local First Arizona member, Criollo Latin Kitchen, part of the SLO (Sustainable Local Organic) Restaurant Concepts group, has been nominated for excellence as a Business for the Arts. The arts are very important part of business at Criollo Latin Kitchen. Each month they showcase a different local artist with a professional exhibition; all pieces are for sale. Every First Friday, Criollo has an opening night for the exhibition. From April through November 2013, they have hosted live music in the back alley on First Fridays as well.
Nominations are sent to Flagstaff Arts Council by the community at large; anyone can nominate an artist, leader, organization, business or event for an award in one of eleven categories. From this pool of nominees, a Panel of past Viola Award winners and experts in the field select nominees in each category to be the Official Viola Award Nominees. From a nomination letter:
"I understand that Paul Moir and Criollo Latin Kitchen has been nominated, and wanted to support his nomination in the category of Business for the Arts because of his strong connection to community arts and support through exhibits and advocacy in his restaurants, particularly with Criollo Latin Kitchen downtown. He is a great community partner, and a wonderful advocate for the business of art. I have known Paul for many years and believe him to be a passionate supporter and friend to artists in Flagstaff."
Criollo also gives back to the community and the arts. The most impressive offering that owner Paul Moir has made is in Criollo’s charitable contribution program. He decided to give 1% of all cash sales to Flagstaff Cultural Partners for 2013 and 2014. This idea is about to become a community-wide campaign, thanks to the idea sparked by Mr. Moir. Criollo has also hosted small fundraising events for Flagstaff Friends of Traditional Music, Flagstaff Mountain Film Festival, Rios Libres, et al. Paul is a leader, a colleague, and an inspiration in how to conduct business.
The Viola Award winners are announced each year at the Viola Awards Gala Event. This year’s event is on Saturday, March 7, 2015, at the High Country Conference Center in Flagstaff. Good luck Criollo!