Plans for this year’s awards from the Mobile Arts Council were clarified this week and nominees announced. They are as follows:

• Visual Artist: Ardith Goodwin, Brad Robertson, Sarah Otts

• Performing Artist: Ryan Balthrop, Stacey Driskell, Gene Murrell

• Artistic Innovation: Alabama Contemporary Arts Center, Atchison Home, Ten Sixty Five

• Art Educator: Thomas Rowell, Nancy Raia, Chris Paragone

• Business: Bienville Books, Hargrove Engineers, Heroes/The Royal Scam

• Organization: Downtown Mobile Alliance, Mobile Fashion Week, Mobile Museum of Art

• Mover and Shaker: Donna Camp, Marie Dyson, Henry and Kate Seawell

A special lifetime achievement award is to be given to Charlie Smoke.

Formerly called the Greater Mobile Art Awards and now rebranded as The Artys, the event is described as an “Oscar-style event including drinks, hors d’oeuvres and entertainment.” Winners will be announced at the ceremony, scheduled for Friday, Dec. 4, at 7 p.m. at the Gulf Coast Exploreum (65 Government St.). Entrance will be $25 for Mobile Arts Council members, $30 for nonmembers.

Previous award categories were Artist, Educator, Business, Organization, Patron and Volunteer. Lifetime Achievement and Emerging Artist were a pair of categories added in the last couple of years.

For more information about the awards and the event, call 251-432-9796 or go to

ACAC draws raves
Speaking of the Alabama Contemporary Arts Center (formerly known as Space 301) on Cathedral Square, some laudatory reviews of the facility came up in conversation with ACAC Director Bob Sain recently. He forwarded along the comments that show the facility is having its desired impact.

“I just saw the exhibition History Refused to Die — it is spectacular — both in the work and the presentation of it. It really blew my mind! And it has such an emotional impact! This was an amazing experience, and a so-unexpected experience. I live near Washington, D.C., and have seen nothing like this there. Thank you for bringing this all together, it will forever color my memories and my first visit to Mobile.” — Dilys Parry from Bethesda, Maryland
“Wonderful curatorial approach of art combined with history! Congratulations!” — Cuqui from Miami, Florida

“I really like your exhibition. I always try to find contemporary art wherever I go — and to be honest, I thought I wouldn’t find it in Mobile. In my opinion, this exhibition is even better than that what the Dallas Museum of Art shows right now. This exhibition shows so many aspects that African-Americans had and still have to deal with, and sometimes surprised me how the artists point that out in their work. I think the video interview says it all and I was really surprised by my whole visit. Great work!” — Verna from Germany

MSO bags grants
The Mobile Symphony Orchestra (MSO) recently landed a trio of grants that will be steered toward support for their performances, educational programs and facilities.

The Community Foundation of South Alabama (CFSA) awarded MSO $20,000 for its Harlem Quartet and Education and Community Outreach Residency in 2016 that will reach Mobile, Baldwin, Washington, Clarke and Monroe counties. The grant originated with the CFSA Arts and Culture Priority Area Fund and will help provide school performance programs and community concerts aimed at gaining new classical music listeners. The Harlem Quartet will also appear with Mobile Symphony Youth Orchestra in May 2016.

The Alabama State Council on the Arts awarded a $51,500 Performing Arts Grant to MSO for the current season.

The Alabama Business Charitable Trust Fund Inc. awarded MSO $10,000 for a lighting retrofit in the Larkins Music Center where it and Mobile Opera have offices and rehearsal facilities. It will go toward making the building more energy efficient, lowering bills and operating costs.

Auditions on both sides of the bay
Theatre 98 will hold auditions on Monday, Nov. 9, and Tuesday, Nov. 10, for its version of Neil Simon’s “Plaza Suite.” Tryouts begin at 7 p.m. in the company’s facility at 350 Morphy Ave. in Fairhope. Any necessary call-backs will be Thursday, Nov. 11, at 7 p.m.

The play consists of three self-contained acts set in a New York City hotel. The company will use a different director — Brenda Hedstrom, Heather Delker or Robin Ann Page — for each act.

Theatre 98 is looking for men and women of every ethnicity, aged 18-60. The play runs in February.

For more information, contact production manager Chris Francendese at  

Meanwhile, Joe Jefferson Players are looking to fill out a cast for one of Moliere’s most famous comedies, “Tartuffe.” The jab at religious hypocrisy was so cutting it was censored in 1667 by King Louis XIV of France.

Director Timothy Guy is seeking men and women aged 17-70. Interested parties should be prepared to cold read from a provided script.

Open auditions are Monday, Nov. 2, and Tuesday, Nov. 3, at 6:30 p.m. both days. If needed, call-backs will be Thursday, Nov. 5, at 6:30 p.m.

Rehearsals will begin Nov. 9.

The play will run Jan. 15-31. Show times are Friday and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.

For further information, email