Bremner Honored with Arts Alliance Achievement Award

Posted by Rachael Wilbur

The Arts Alliance Mountain Empire is honoring Emory & Henry College theatre professor Dr. Kelly Bremner as an arts educator.

Bremner serves as chair of the theatre department and is known for her outstanding teaching, theater scholarship, and especially for directing many innovative and engaged productions at the College. The theatre department has grown rapidly during her eight-year tenure and now serves close to 60 theatre majors. The high quality faculty, partnership with the Barter Theatre and the new McGlothlin Center for the Arts are the pride of the department which has fully emerged as a leader in regional theatre education.

While at Emory & Henry, her teaching was recognized with the 2017 award for an Outstanding Faculty Member at a Liberal Arts college by the State Council for Higher Education in the State of Virginia, by the YWCA Tribute to Women Awards for Excellence in Education, and with a Social Justice Award by the Inclusion and Dialogue Center at the College. Her productions have been awarded numerous meritorious achievement awards by the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.

Bremner specializes in directing, theatre for civic engagement, theatre history and new script development. She is a regular participant in the Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights with the Barter Theatre, and has a passion for promoting regional theatre. Bremner says that she believes in implementing a personal, hands-on style of teaching.

“I want to get my students applying what they are learning in a context that I hope feels like a real-world situation,” Bremner said. “I also try hard to help my students value their own story as it relates to the work in the class. I want them to bring themselves to their learning and see their leanings and their blind spots because of their stories.”

Other honorees include Cornelia Laemmli Orth, Mary Beth Rainero, Leah Ross and Charles Vess.

Cornelia Laemmli Orth has been the musical director and conductor of the Symphony of the Mountains since 2006. She has overseen the outreach of the symphony to include concerts throughout the region. Orth has been especially interested in nurturing programs that bring orchestral music to children and organizing summer outdoor concerts for families.

Mary Beth Rainero has been a tireless arts advocate in the region for nearly 50 years as a volunteer, project leader, fundraiser and board member of many institutions. She was key to the renovation of the historic Paramount Theatre and the Bristol Train Station and has been involved both on-stage and as a supporter of Theatre Bristol.

Leah Ross has been central during the last 20 years to the revival of downtown Bristol businesses and Bristol as an arts and tourist destination. She is the executive director of the Birthplace of Country Music, which is the parent organization of Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion, the Birthplace of Country Music Museum and Radio Bristol.

Charles Vess is an internationally renowned fantasy artist who has illustrated numerous Marvel and D.C. Comics (“The Amazing Spiderman,” “Swamp Thing”) and the “Sandman” series written by Neil Gaiman. He has spent the last four years drawing illustrations of a new edition of Ursula K. Le Guin’s “Earthsea” series.

The AAME Gala awards ceremony will be held Saturday, May 19, at the Holiday Inn in Bristol, Virginia, to honor the winners. The gala consists of a cocktail hour, dinner, music, a silent art auction and the awards ceremony.

Tickets are $100 for individuals, and tables for eight can be purchased for $800. For tickets, visit www.aamearts.org/gala or send a check to AAME Gala, Box 94, Bristol, TN 37621. For more information about the event, call 423-646-3024.

The Arts Alliance Mountain Empire is an arts council formed as a service organization for artists, arts organizations and other cultural endeavors throughout the Mountain Empire. The mission of AAME is to nurture, advocate and celebrate the arts. AAME fulfills its mission primarily as the publisher of A! Magazine for the Arts, and it has published an arts directory and sponsors a lecture series and workshops on arts-related topics.

  • Kelly Bremner
    Kelly Bremner

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