Since 1990, Masterworks has honored deserving individuals with its annual Salute to the Arts Award. Award recipients have played prominent roles in fostering the arts in the South Sound, truly shaping the region’s cultural landscape through their talent, energy, and commitment. The yearly recipients have significantly altered our community’s cultural landscape through their continued contributions of time, talent and energy to all of the arts in our region.

Past recipients have been integral in forming, creating, and sustaining such vibrant elements of our community as: The Olympia Symphony, The Washington Center, The Procession of the Species, Harlequin Theater, the Olympia Opera Guild, Masterworks Choral Ensemble, Capital Playhouse, Creative Theater Experience, and The Tacoma and Olympia Youth Symphonies. In addition, Salute to the Arts recipients have, through their public and private studio teaching, helped create new generations of artists that continue to enrich us all. To all award winners, past and present, we express our deepest appreciation. We salute you! 

2018 Salute Nomination

If you have someone in mind you’d like to nominate 2018 Salute to the Arts Award, please complete and return the attached Salute_Nomination_Form_2018. Please include a brief outline and description of the nominee and why you are nominating them.

2017 Salute Honoree: John Welsh

1John Welsh has brought a wealth of experience, leadership, and direction to the arts community in Olympia for the past 17 years. He is the founding Music Director and Conductor of the Student Orchestra of Greater Olympia (SOGO)

His past conducting engagements include Resident Conductor of the Rainier Symphony Orchestra in Tukwila and Music Director positions with the Bremerton Symphony Orchestra, the Oak Ridge Symphony Orchestra in Tennessee, the Prince William Symphony, Georgetown Symphony Orchestra and other orchestras in the metropolitan Washington D.C. area.

Mr. Welsh has conducted the San Miguel Philharmonic in Manila, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the New World Symphony in Miami, the Festival international Echtermach Chamber Orchestra in Luxembourg, the Metropolitan Chamber Players at Lincoln Center, the Arlington Symphony, the Annapolis Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony, and the Shenandoah Music Festival Orchestra. He also held residence at Indiana University.

Mr. Welsh holds a Bachelor of Music in Piano from Miami University in Ohio and a 2Conservatory OrchestraMasters in Conducting from Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. While serving as a Captain in the United States Air Force, he conducted the United States Air Force Band and Symphony and Military Airlift Command Band. His mentors include Richard Lert, Leo Mueller, Leon Barzin, Leon Fleisher, Kiril Kondrashin, Max Rudolph and Gustav Meir.

Mr. Welsh is very proud to be the first Music Director of SOGO and Conductor of the Conservatory Orchestra.

Past Honorees

1990 Lynn Brunton
1991 Eva and Fred Goldberg
1993 Clara Huffine
1994 Marguerite Agnew
1995 Anton Panowicz
1996 Irv Wright
1997 Ian Edlund
1999 Andy Crow
2000 Ralph & Karen Munro
2001 Jeff Kingsbury
2002 Scott and Linda Whitney
2003 Helen Christopher
2004 Lois Wofford
2005 Eli Sterling
2006 Eric Lee
2007 Dan Lundberg
2008 Bud Johansen
2009 Stan Kildow
2010 Jack Anderson
2011 Stephanie Claire
2012 Troy Arnold Fisher
2013 Diane Gaile
2014 Burt and Di Meyers
2015 Colleen Powers and Kathy Dorgan
2016 Gary Witley